Coronavirus York updates: 12th April 2020

Tesco makes changes

The supermarket has announced six major new changes will be coming to stores across the UK. The changes were announced in an email sent to customers by CEO Dave Lewis

Here are all the changes shoppers can expect to see from next week.

One-way aisles

As part of its ongoing measures, Tesco is introducing one-way aisles and a ‘one-in, one-out’ system across its stores. CEO Dave Lewis said: “As well as the measures we shared with you previously, we’re introducing one-way aisles and a ‘one-in, one-out’ system in stores. “We’ve maintained longer opening hours to minimise potential queuing. Do ask your local store team for the quiet times.”

Restrictions removed

Tesco has announced that as its stock levels are starting to return to normal, it is removing the purchasing limits on the majority of its products. From today, limits will only remain on essential items such as toilet rolls, pasta and hand sanitisers. This means those customers who were planning to stock up on Easter eggs will be able to do so as restrictions will no longer apply to them.

Protective screens

You may find Tesco has altered its checkouts at your local store too as the retailer has now installed protective screens at the front and back of every till at the checkout, so that all checkouts can be open instead of every other one. Tesco hopes this will prevent customers queuing more than they have to during this crisis.

Increase to contactless payments

The limit on contactless payments will start to move from £30 to £45 per shop. Tesco is starting to gradually update its tills. You can also use the free Tesco Pay+ app from Tesco Bank. The app has bank-level security built in and lets you pay for up to £250 worth of shopping with a single contactless scan directly from your phone.

New delivery slots – and more on their way

During the last week Tesco has been given an initial list of 110,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated people by the Government. From this list, Tesco has identified 75,000 existing customers who will now have home delivery slots created for them. Tesco also says it is working through the list and as its teams receive more data from the Government, it will make even more slots available.

Quiet times

Tesco is advising customers to ask their local stores for the quietest times to visit to avoid queuing. These times will differ from store to store but will tend to be around an hour before closing.

North Yorkshire Police thanks the public for making the right decision about coronavirus

North Yorkshire Police has once again thanked the public for following the Government’s guidance and staying home over the Easter weekend to help slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Officers on patrol across the county on Good Friday (10 April) reported quieter seafronts, beauty spots, towns and cities, which would usually be crowded with visitors at this time of year.

A small minority of people continue to ignore the restrictions however, and the force has responded to reports of groups gathering across the county, including a small number of BBQs and house parties.

Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable and Gold commander leading the response to the outbreak, said:

“We know how difficult these measures are for everyone – especially at a time of year when many of us would be seeing our loved ones, spending time with friends or setting off on holidays – but we would like to reiterate our thanks to the majority of people across North Yorkshire, who are making the right decision and staying home.

“However, we urge people to continue following the guidance, to help slow the spread of coronavirus, and support the capacity of our colleagues in the NHS to save lives. This includes not meeting up with other people from outside your household to have barbecues or house parties, even if social distancing is observed.

“Unfortunately, a small minority of people continue to show such a blatant disregard – not only for the Government’s guidance but also for the lives of others, including their own friends and their loved ones. Anyone can get it. Anyone can spread it. That is why we need everyone to play their part and help frontline services by staying home and not putting yourself or others at risk. If you have a BBQ or get together with friends or family planned then those plans need to change.

“We’ll be continuing our high-visibility patrols over the weekend and will continue to engage, explain and encourage members of the public to adhere to the guidelines. We will only use enforcement if we have to. Thankfully, the vast majority of people in our communities are taking the measures very seriously.

“The message is clear – stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Please, do the right thing this weekend. The more we follow the rules, the sooner we can get back to normal. Thank you.”

For further information about the force’s response to coronavirus, advice on how to keep safe and Frequently Asked Questions visit their pages on coronavirus on their website.

The Silent Solution – how to contact the police without saying a word

The Silent Solution is a system that enables a 999 mobile caller, who is unable to ask for police assistance or even make a noise, indicate that they are a genuine caller who requires an emergency police response.

The Silent Solution is available to anyone who is calling from a mobile, who is unable to make a verbal request for the police. However, North Yorkshire Police is keen to raise awareness of the system in the current COVID-19 climate, to ensure that domestic abuse victims who may be isolating with an abusive partner know how to summon the police without having to say a word.

When a 999 call is made from a mobile, the call is initially answered by a BT call handler, who will ask for the emergency service required, in order to direct the call to the correct service.

If the BT call handler cannot detect any noise on the line, they will ask the caller to cough or tap the phone to determine whether it is a genuine or hoax call. It’s really important to listen to the instruction given by the call handler and to press 55 when prompted by them. When 55 is pressed, the call handler will connect the call through to the police.

Because it’s more likely that an accidental 999 call is made from a mobile, the Silent Solution system is just used for emergency calls made from mobiles.

This doesn’t mean that callers from landlines would not receive the same help. If a 999 call is made from a landline number and there is no verbal request made for an emergency service, the caller doesn’t answer any questions and only background noise can be heard, the BT call handler will connect the call to police, as there is doubt over someone’s safety.

Speaking about the Silent Solution, Head of the Force Control Room, Superintendent Jason Dickson said:

“Nationally around 50 emergency ‘silent solution’ calls are transferred to police by BT call handlers, as a result of someone pressing 55 when prompted.

“Thousands of ‘in pocket’ 999 calls are made every day which BT have to screen out, to ensure only genuine emergency calls get the help and priority they need. That’s why it’s really important to listen to the call handler and cough or tap and press 55 when asked, so they know you are in real need of help.”

Speaking about the police response to domestic abuse calls during the COVID-19 pandemic, force lead for Safeguarding, Superintendent Allan Harder said:

“It’s essential that victims who are suffering abuse at home know that we are here and ready to help. If you have reason to call 999, please be assured that we are responding to emergency calls and in a position to safeguard and support you.

“Please do not be deterred from calling police, thinking you are wasting police time or falsely using already stretched resources in this time of national crisis. If you are in an emergency and you are in danger, call 999, use the Silent Solution if you need to and we will respond.

“If you are not in immediate risk of harm, but want to report your concerns to police, call us on 101.

“There are also a number of online and telephone resources available to support you, should you not want to talk to police. Visit the North Yorkshire Police website – for more information.

“If you need us, call us and we will be there.”

Mourners allowed back at Crematorium

The York Councils decision to ban all mourners from services at the York crematorium looked well intentioned. It was, however, implemented in a clumsy and insensitive way.

The Council has now reversed its ban and a small number of mourners will be allowed to stand outside the chapel prior to interment. They will be comforted – if they wish – by a Minister or other “celebrant”.

That is the right decision.

It had been suggested on Friday – when a government Minister said the ban should be relaxed – that a compromise would be to allow close relatives to pay their last respects from a safe distance. From what effectively would be a quarantined area.

The hope was that the short services could also be beamed to relatives homes using modern technology. It remains to be seen whether this will be done by a Council which is under increasing pressures.

Some questions remain. The closest relative of a coronaviruses victim may well have been living with them. Anyone who has been in contact with a known sufferer or carrier is in any event required to self-isolate at home for 14 days

The major change recently has been the number of people dying in the local community who were not admitted to hospital. The Council says that “A death at home will mean that family members are likely to have come into contact with the deceased and staff at the Crematorium are only alerted to this 24 hrs before the funeral when the medical certificates are sent through.  At that point there is no way of knowing whether family members have symptoms, are carriers or have self-isolated for the required number of days before attending the funeral”. 

The Council now says that “there can be up to 14 services a day, with up to 10 people at each service, meaning that in one day, over 150 people could potentially visit the crematorium. It is vital that the number of people visiting the crematoria is kept to a minimum, in order to minimise the chances of spreading coronavirus”.

Similar arrangements apply to burials at Fulford Cemetery.

If Funeral Directors or the technical staff at the crematorium became ill then there could be a backlog of bodies. In turn this could lead to some unsavoury choices  having to be made including the possibility of mass burials.

No one knows what the incidence of coronavirus deaths will be.

The  Council says it will ensure that services of remembrance at York Crematorium will be offered to all families when restrictions are lifted and a city wide multifaith remembrance ceremony will be held, supported by local faith leaders and the Council.

Arrangements will be made for ashes to be scattered in accordance with relatives wishes.

We think that local politicians should concentrate on finding solutions to issues rather than point scoring. The local MP, for example, could usefully ensure that all those in bereavement services have adequate protective clothing and are offered regular virus testing.  Processes to ensure the crematorium site and transport remain sterile may also need support.

It may be that those attending funerals will also need to be tested. The absence of a quick and reliable test remains a concern. (No one in China is allowed to move around if they have a high temperature)

When the crisis is over, there will be a time for reflection. Processes and contingency plans will need to be reviewed.

 It may be that the many residents who now walk and cycle enjoying the City and its environs will demand that more parks and open spaces are made available in future.

Such facilities might provide a lasting memorial for those have have lost their lives and for their relatives who also had to make a sacrifice to keep others safe.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference


61A Gale Lane York YO24 3AD

Erection of 3 storey building to form 8no. apartments and 2no. semi-detached bungalows to the rear following demolition of existing bungalow with new access and associated landscaping.

Ref. No: 20/00494/FULM 


36 The Green Acomb York YO26 5LR

Single storey rear extension

Ref. No: 20/00521/FUL 


24 Gladstone Street Acomb York YO24 4NG

Change of use from residential (use class C3) to house in multiple occupation (use class C4) for up to 3no. occupants

Ref. No: 20/00557/FUL 


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning online web site.

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received