News centre

Council and partners thank the city on lockdown anniversary

Published Monday, 22 March 2021

As the country marks 1 year since the first lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020, City of York Council is joining the nation in reflecting on the last 12 months.

The council and partners are thanking residents and businesses for pulling together in what has been the most difficult of times:

  • Thank you to everyone in York - You have home-schooled, stayed at home, volunteered, communicated virtually, looked after your community, practised 'hands, face, space' and more
  • Thank you to our partners - You have worked so tirelessly to protect residents’ lives and livelihoods
  • Thank you to our business community - This has been incredibly challenging for us all, you have been affected in ways you couldn’t imagine, but by working together and sharing the vast knowledge among York, you quickly adapted to keep your customers and staff safe
  • Thank you to the city’s key workers, including council staff - You have gone above and beyond to the most challenging circumstances, connecting people who need help with the help available and continuing to support our communities
  • Thank you to those involved in the vaccine rollout which gives us all real hope - This includes the amazing volunteers, our skilled NHS workers, those in the city who have rolled up their sleeve and had the jab and those who are eagerly, yet patiently awaiting their invitation. This gives us real hope that better days are to come

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

In the past year, we have seen the very best of our incredible city. It has been a challenging year for us all, but it the community spirit and resolve of local residents and businesses has made us all proud.

“Whilst the city can look back with pride as to how it came together to respond to the biggest health crisis of a century, we should also take time to reflect on those we have lost far too soon. As always, our thoughts are with those who have lost family and friends taken by the virus.

“The impact of this pandemic is undeniable, however, together with partners, our focus remains to support residents and recover as we emerge out of restrictions. In the short term, we are keen to keep driving down case numbers to protect our city, and we are grateful to everyone for staying at home and following the latest public health guidance - it is making a huge difference.

“With the vaccine rollout underway, there is good reason to be hopeful. Let’s continue to look after each other and keep going. For those needing any support, help is there via our helpline, telephone: 01904 551550 or by emailing covid19help@york.gov.uk.”

Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

Since the outbreak changed the way we all live our lives a year ago, staff across the CCG and our member GP practices have been working tirelessly to ensure that our health settings are safe and accessible as possible to patients who need them, and adapting quickly to new ways of working. This includes making the most of digital technology to ensure we can see patients without them having to come into surgeries where possible, also allowing us to prioritise patients with potential cancer symptoms.

“This past year has been unprecedented, but I am extremely proud of the way my colleagues have risen to the challenge, particularly in implementing the largest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS for our local communities. As the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out in York, my thanks go out to all of the staff and volunteers who have ensured its success so far. It’s been a long haul, but we will get through this.“

Simon Morritt, Chief Executive, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

COVID-19 has presented the NHS with arguably the greatest challenge it has faced since its creation, and over the last year we have has stepped up in ways never seen before to respond to the pandemic. This could not have been have achieved without the commitment and skills of all our people, whose professionalism, and continued and sustained hard work has been unfailing - despite the most difficult and challenging circumstances.

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, said:

Working together with our partners across the city over the past 12 months has been key. We’ve achieved a great deal by prioritising interventions, pooling resources and sharing approaches. It really has been a team effort in an undoubtedly challenging year.

“That partnership approach helped establish the first walk-through testing centre here on campus, allowed the city-wide test and trace programme to be rolled out and enabled schools to start their testing as schools reopened this month.

“We have come together to help support each other, whether that’s responding to the needs of students, colleagues, frontline workers, or the wider population in the city and beyond.”

John Tomsett, chair of York Schools’ and Academies’ Board, said:

The unity schools across York have shown during the pandemic is a huge silver lining to emerge from the COVID-19 cloud. In many ways we are a stronger educational community than we have ever been.

Emma Johnson, Chief Executive at St Leonard’s Hospice said:

Through ‘Our One Year On’ campaign we have given the local community the chance to remember their key lockdown moments, by creating a time capsule of memories which will be placed in our Hospice grounds.

“We are also working with partners across the city, including the council, to light up York in the Hospice’s colours at 8.00pm on Tuesday 23 March, in recognition of the impact the pandemic has had on local people.

“Our team of bereavement support volunteers have been wonderful in continuing to provide support and advice to hundreds of people who have been bereaved during this year, and I would urge anyone who is struggling with their grief to get in touch with our highly experienced team. Full details of our bereavement support service are available on the St Leonard's Hospice website.”

Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield, Commander of York and Selby Police, said:

The past year has been incredibly difficult and our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones or been severely affected by the pandemic.

“It has also been greatly heartening to witness the true community spirit in York as we all pulled together to tackle the spread of the virus, protecting our most vulnerable residents, and making sure our heroic NHS colleagues could maintain their services under extreme pressure.

“Now, more than ever, we’ve got to keep going. We must work together as we gradually - and carefully - move towards brighter times thanks to the roll-out of the vaccination programme. Our policing teams will continue to provide a reassuring presence in the city and help to keep people safe.”

Andrew Lowson, Chief Director of York BID, said:

It’s been an exceptionally difficult year for many businesses, especially in York where we have large numbers of retail, hospitality and leisure. However many have adapted and diversified which is credit to the entrepreneurial nature of many York business owners. Whilst 2021 started badly with another lockdown, there is genuine optimism that York can bounce back this summer.