City of York Council’s Public Health leaders have committed to provide hundreds of free face coverings for distribution in retail spaces.
This is taking place as thousands of visitors and shoppers are expected in York city centre in the run up to the festive season.
Working in partnership with city centre businesses and Make It York, who manage the annual Christmas market, the council is sending a clear COVID-19 message - ‘let’s keep York safe and open’.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of the City of York Council, commented:
The holiday season is always special in York and many of us undoubtedly missed our usual city-wide festivities last year.
"This year as we enjoy the Christmas celebrations and the busy shopping period that plays a big part in the Christmas preparations, we must remember that we all have a role to play in helping make sure we protect the city and each other.
“We are working with partners and businesses across the city to keep York open and safe, and so we’re asking all residents and visitors who visit our varied and vibrant shops and markets to ‘protect, respect and be kind’”.
Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health for the City of York Council said:
As we head into the colder months, we are likely to see not just COVID-19 cases rise in number, but also the arrival of other respiratory risks, such as flu.
"We all need to get back into the good habits most of us adopted when the pandemic first began. This includes keeping a reasonable safe distance from others, washing our hands, and critically, wearing face coverings in shops and other public places.
"We need to go back to that this winter to protect ourselves and each other, and to make sure we don’t put the NHS back under unbearable pressure”.
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York said,
We're really pleased that many of York's well-loved festivities are returning to the city this year, but it's important that we all do our bit to keep York safe and open this Christmas.
"We're delighted to be supporting this initiative and will be encouraging our members across the city and traders at the Christmas market to do the same. The festive period represents a vital opportunity to trade and wearing a face covering is a simple step to help mitigate the risk of losing staff due to illness, as well as protecting residents and visitors. Let's all lead by example and wear a mask this Christmas."