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York’s economic response to Coronavirus

Published Tuesday, 15 September 2020

City of York Council’s executive member for the economy, Cllr Andrew Waller is set to receive an update on how York’s economy has fared since the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic.

The report also looks at how the proactive partnership approach along with support from the council has paid dividends to help ensure the city’s economy remains in a strong position relative to other cities. It also looks at how this collaborative approach will help the city as it faces an uncertain autumn and winter.

Since the start of the pandemic the council has worked to help York’s economy, from delivering urgent financial support to businesses to extending York’s foot streets to enable more people to come into the city safely and support the local economy.

Executive member for Economy and Strategic planning, Cllr Andrew Waller, said:

“Our key priorities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic have been the health and wellbeing of everyone in York and the backing of the city’s economy. A considerable amount of work went into reopening the city centre, and supporting the return of customers for retail and hospitality. Footfall has now returned to 75% of normal levels, whilst spending in the city is almost back to 100%.  I would like to encourage residents to continue to support local businesses by buying local whenever they can.

I would like to thank all the Council staff who have worked so hard over the summer, distributing £100m of grants and funding to over 4,000 businesses, providing accurate updates to well over 1,000 businesses each week, and getting the city centre trading again by extending foot streets, repurposing public space and introducing free parking incentives.  We have given all the help we can to businesses, but we know that there are still too many who have fallen between the gaps of the Government’s rules, and we have lobbied central government to address these gaps.

It has been encouraging to see so many partners working with the council to address the economic and jobs challenge coming up in the coming months. We will be working together to support businesses to keep going, providing opportunities for re-training for those who have lost their employment, and drawing as much as support as possible from national schemes to help new businesses to set up or expand within York.”

A key part of ensuring the correct response to the pandemic has been a proactive, evidence led approach thanks to working and sharing information with key business support agencies in York, including Make it York, York Business Improvement District, York and North Yorkshire Chamber, the Federation of Small Businesses and University of York.

Over the coming months support from the council and partners will include:

  • Responding to job losses by coordinating and facilitating support, working closely with Government Agencies to bring support to those in need.
  • Working with Make it York to develop an employment hub on their website and to work with the business community to support downsizing and growth, enabling York residents get new jobs as quickly as possible.
  • Calling for more Government support to support retraining and career switching.

Secondary shopping areas, including Acomb and Haxby are being supported as we explore what type of improvements could be made as short term initiatives, plus a longer term strategic vision, incorporating inclusive and sustainable growth.

The Decision Session for the Executive Member for Economy and Strategic planning takes place on Tuesday 22 September. For more information visit