As numbers of confirmed Coronavirus cases increase locally and nationally, City of York Council is encouraging residents and businesses to continue their work in keeping each other safe.
Since the pandemic began, businesses and residents have gone to great efforts to protect each other. Data from Google mobility showed that York residents stayed home more than anywhere else in the region during lockdown, whilst businesses across the city have adapted to delivering their services differently to keep people safe.
However, in line with the national trend, cases are increasing in the city. Therefore, it is vital that people stay vigilant and practice good public health measures and remember: Hands. Face. Space.
Following an increase in cases across the country, Monday saw the introduction of the rule of six, meaning you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. Meeting in groups of more than six is now against the law and the police have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
The rule of six means you can only meet with people outside of your household group in a group of no more than 6 people. This applies whether you are meeting in your home, outside in the park or at a venue like a restaurant.
Please remember that the principles remain, to stop the spread of the virus we all need to all remember:
- Hands - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds or more each time
- Face - Wear a face covering in public spaces it isn’t easy to social distance in (plus be considerate of those who are exempt and share pictures of you wearing them on social media as part of the #WeveGotItCovered campaign!)
- Space - Keep our distance – 2m is best
- Test - Stay at home if you have symptoms and ask for a test.
The council is aware that due to testing capacity challenges nationally, some people here are struggling to access a test. For now, people with symptoms (a dry continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of or change in sense of taste and smell) are asked to self-isolate at home until they are able to get a test. The Council continues to press the Government for more testing capacity locally, following letters to the Secretary of State.
Last night saw the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum outline work putting in place additional measures and declaring a major incident to slow the spread in some parts of the County following increasing cases in North Yorkshire. In York, we are asking residents and businesses to be vigilant and remember hands, face, space to keep you and your communities safe.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council and Chair of the Outbreak Management Advisory Board said: “The people and businesses of York have been working hard to slow the spread of Coronavirus, our shops are still open and have new safety measures in place to protect residents and visitors.
“However, as is happening around the country, across Europe and around the world, we are starting to see more positive cases of Coronavirus. We know this has been a difficult year for everyone, but it is vital we continue to follow the public health advice and do what we can to stop the spread of the virus.
“As a city, we are continuing to call for increased capacity for tests, for those who need it. We understand that the lack of testing capacity is causing people difficulties and I have written to the Government to demand that this situation be addressed swiftly, as it must be resolved. For now, we are very grateful to all those self-isolating whilst waiting for a test and a result, anyone needing help with food or other support whilst self-isolating can access our helpline on 01904 551550.”
Sharon Stoltz, Director for Public Health at City of York Council said: “Handwashing, wearing face coverings, keeping a safe distance and staying home and getting a test when we have symptoms remain our best defence to slow the spread of the virus.
“Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and it is vital we all remain vigilant and work together to keep people safe. Across the city we are seeing an increase in the number of confirmed cases. Whilst we are not at immediate risk of having to introduce local restrictions since our numbers are still lower than those being seen in other areas we all need to work together to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have seen so much to be proud of as a city in the past few months. However with cases increasing nationally and locally we need to be especially careful and we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and each other safe.
“We must all remain vigilant. Whilst York has robust, effective, timely and responsive measures in place, as a city we cannot be complacent.”
Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid19, and the chair of the North Yorkshire Strategic Coordination Group, said:
“This week we have seen the introduction of the new ‘rule of six’ nationally, in response to the rise in positive cases across England. We have taken a number of measures to reassure the public that we understand how important sticking to the covid rules are to protect our residents, communities and economy.
“This now includes having dedicated patrol cars out and about, crewed by officers who will use the tried and tested ‘four Es’ process where they will engage with groups who are not following the rules, explain what the rules are and encourage them to follow them, only using enforcement as a last resort.
“However we are asking everyone in York and North Yorkshire to step up their own level of awareness and response to help us fight the virus here too. As a partnership we are strong but we cannot do this alone. So please do the right thing for the county and go the extra mile to keep safe. Do everything you can to limit the chances of inadvertently spreading Coronavirus. Keep your distance, use a face covering and wash your hands regularly. Thank you.”