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Lights, applause and action for York’s key workers

Published Thursday, 21 May 2020

This Thursday, City of York Council is celebrating the amazing work of our city’s key workers, with applause and continued action to support their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

In line with the national campaign, the council will again turn York’s famous landmarks blue, including the City Walls, Clifford’s Tower, Millennium Bridge and West Offices, in a show of support for the NHS, emergency services, supermarket staff, waste crews, volunteers and other key workers in the city.

Over the past few weeks, City of York Council and businesses across the city have supported key workers with a number of initiatives to show our appreciation for their sacrifice.

Free Meals

The Council has been delighted and encouraged to see so many of our brilliant cafes and restaurants offering discounts, free delivery and free meals to frontline, NHS and key workers in York.

City of York Council is supporting York’s food and drink businesses, many of whom are offering NHS and key worker discount, via a sponsored page on the York Mix website.

Take a look at:

If you businesses is not yet featured and you would like it to be, get in touch with us at


Thank you to the many businesses and local who have responded to the council’s request for unused personal protective equipment (PPE). Although the council’s care teams currently have sufficient PPE, stocks nationally are running low, and priority is being given to NHS staff.

The items of PPE needed are:

  • disposable plastic aprons
  • gloves
  • black bags
  • masks
  • eye protection goggles
  • alcohol based hand sanitiser and hard surface wipes

Anyone who thinks they may have useful PPE should email:

Key Worker Testing

To help protect and support key workers who are unsure if they have coronavirus, those who have coronavirus symptoms or if someone in their house is displaying symptoms, may be eligible for a key worker test if you're defined as a key worker under the government’s definition.

Key workers can apply for a test within the first 3 to 5 days of exhibiting symptoms. They can self-refer for a home test via GOV.UK.


Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said;

““This evening the city will once again say thank you - a token gesture of our appreciation as we all recognise the immense debt we owe to our local heroes who provide vital services, including in social care, the NHS, and helping the most vulnerable in our city.

“Whether through the provision of free meals, discounts, donating PPE or placing rainbows of hope in their windows, across York we have seen residents, local organisations and businesses showing their appreciation for our key workers and their families, in recognition of the vital role they play in tackling the virus and supporting our city through this emergency.”

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said;

“Our Thursday evening celebrations are the tip of the iceberg of all the work that is going on across the city to support our keyworkers as they carry out their vital work.

“York’s community spirit has never been so visible. Despite our social distance, the city’s communities, businesses and local organisations have come together in support of efforts to tackle the virus and protect the most vulnerable. 

Of course one crucial way in which we can all support the NHS, frontline staff and key workers in York is to adhere to the latest government guidance and continue to closely follow social distancing advice and wash our hands regularly. This will help us protect those who must leave their homes for work, the most vulnerable and ultimately, save lives.”