Residents and visitors are being reassured by enforcement partners that the city centre is gradually re-opening safely with social distancing and COVID-safe measures being followed.
This Easter weekend and over following weekends, a joint operation by City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police and York Business Improvement District (The York BID) will provide information and support to ensure that residents, businesses and any visitors are safe in the city centre.
The police officers, COVID Marshalls and York Bid Rangers will be encouraging COVID compliance. This includes checking that only businesses allowed to open are trading and checking that takeaways are COVID-compliant. Licensed businesses will be reminded to check the ages of customers buying alcohol.
People will be reminded about the ‘rule of 6’, and just 2 households meeting outdoors and will be reminded to take their litter home or use the existing and additional bins provided. Besides the city centre, this also applies to areas such as the city strays, parks and the riverside walks.
Anyone busking will be reminded that they will be permitted to perform after 17 May, at the earliest, and will be responsible for managing any audiences they attract.
Cllr Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said:
We’ve all worked hard to get infection rates down, so we need to keep up our standards and remind others to be considerate and continue to socially distance and follow the rules. This will help slow infection rates and will ensure we stay on track to open further in April.
“There will be people coming out of their homes for the first time in many months who may be anxious about being with other people. Please be considerate and show respect to all in the city, whether that’s keeping 2 metres distance or taking your litter home.
“Thank you to the officers involved in the coming joint operations - please do ask them questions they’re here to help.”
Inspector Andy Godfrey, of the York City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
Effective partnership working is a hallmark in York and our team is delighted to be part of this determined effort to ensure people are kept safe from coronavirus as we carefully progress through the government’s road map out of lockdown.
“Our officers and PCSOs will be on hand to support our partners during the checks on business activity in line with the latest health protection regulations. We will also help to monitor popular locations to promote social distancing and make sure the ‘rule of 6’ or 2 households for outdoor gatherings is adhered to. We will use our ‘4 Es’ approach to engage with the public, explain the regulations, encourage compliance, and enforce as a last resort, to determine whether or not a breach has occurred."
Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York BID, said:
We have a lot of essential retail workers and takeaway staff who have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown and it is important we respect them as measures ease.
“It is fantastic that the public want to come to the city centre to enjoy the atmosphere and support local businesses. We just ask that in order to make it safe an enjoyable for everyone, please observe the current guidance including the rule of 6. Our Street Rangers will be on hand to support partners and take questions and to reassure the public.”