April – June
The quarter stared with a full scale lockdown in place. Infection rates were to peak in May.
The Government and Council responded with a range of support packages.
Many, including emergency funding and local community hubs, were welcomed.
On 23rd May the Council confirmed that the current Lord Mayor would continue in office for an additional 12 months.
Deaths and test results
THREE additional deaths announced by York Hospital Trust today. Two occurred on Tuesday and one yesterday. Brings the total number of fatalities since 1st September at the York and Scarborough hospitals to 157.
TWO HUNDRED AND TWO (202) new positive test results announced today.
That is a record high.
The 209 infections reported on 29th December is also the highest single day figure ever recorded in the City.
The previous highest was 159 recorded on 13th October.
The Tuesday figure may have been influenced by delayed results from a Christmas backlog, but this does not entirely explain the surge in cases.
The rate /100k population stands at 266.8. It is set to rise to at least 370.8 within the next three days.
The neighbourhood figures do not yet include the large post Christmas spike in infections. They are likely, therefore, to get worse over the next few days.
End of shuttle service for disabled
Following feedback from service users the temporary Blue Badge shuttle service from Monk Bar car park is set to end on 31 December.
The service will be replaced with improved city centre access arrangements and more parking locations.
Feedback on the shuttle service and single drop off from Monk Bar was that it was not popular and viewed as inadequate by some blue badge holders. To make it easier for those who used the shuttle service to visit the city centre, vehicle access and Blue Badge parking is being reinstated from Monk Bar to Deangate, and College Green..
Free blue badge parking will be available in locations including:
• in ten dedicated spaces at Monk Bar Car Park
• in 4 additional dedicated bays at Bootham Row Car Park (Off Bootham next the BBC Radio York building)
• as well as on double yellow lines on Monk Bar to Deangate and College Green (up to and past the Cross Keys pub)
The original changes were brought in quickly at the start of the pandemic to allow for social distancing and the opening of pavement cafes. This helped York’s city centre to recover more strongly than most other cities in the UK, including giving many pubs and cafes the outdoor space which allows them to keep trading.
The latest plans follow extensive engagement with disabled residents and advocacy groups. It revealed broad support for the increased safety of the footstreets but dissatisfaction with the arrangements put in place to replace the lost Blue Badge parking. The proposed changes included:
• Vehicle access and Blue Badge parking would return from Monk Bar to Deangate, and College Green.
• The taxi shuttle service for which feedback was poor will finish at the end of December.
• Ten Blue Badge spaces would be retained at Monk Bar Car Park, and four created at Bootham Row to add to the additional free on-street spaces at Dundas Street, Carmelite Street, St Saviourgate, Duncombe Place and the existing spaces on Piccadilly, Tower Street, Castle Car Park and all other council car parks.
• A single information point for disabled people to plan journeys.
• Explore ways to allow disabled people who use cycles as a mobility aid to use them with care on the footstreets.
Following the announcement that York will be in Tier 3 from 00.01 on 31 December footstreets will be open to traffic from 5pm as bars, pubs and cafes will only be able to open for takeaway service due to the restrictions.
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader and executive member for transport, said:
We recognise that there is a balance to be struck between re-opening the city by extending footstreets whilst also ensuring disabled residents are able to access the city centre.
“Following further engagement we have looked to adapt these changes to better reflect the needs of everyone. We think this strikes the balance realising the benefits of footstreets for businesses and most of their customers whilst mitigating the negative impact for blue badge holders.
“When we no longer need to protect the people in our city centre from coronavirus, we will have to protect the large crowds which will return from the very different threat of terrorism. It is right that we look now at the long-term footstreets arrangements as part of that protection working with businesses and all types of users to find the most appropriate solutions.”
Council simplifies Tier 3 support grants for businesses
We will make Tier 3 grant support as simple and smooth as possible for York’s businesses – and urged qualifying companies who have not yet made a claim to make sure they are not missing out.
All businesses that have applied for and are receiving grants in Tier 2 do not need to reapply for Tier 3 grants. The council will automatically process the grants under existing schemes.
The council will automatically register and pay the appropriate grants to any business which has successfully applied for:
• The Local Restrictions Grants brought in to support business through Tier 2
• The Additional Restrictions Grant introduced to support businesses which were severely impacted, but not forced to close during November’s lockdown.
Tier 3 grants include:
• Businesses forced to close by law, including most hospitality, indoor entertainment and accommodation, can access Local Restrictions Grants (Closed) of up to £3000, depending on their rateable value, per month.
• Businesses not forced to close but with trade reduced by over 75% due to the pandemic can receive between £500 and £3000 for every two weeks we remain in Tier 3.
These grants will be paid automatically – businesses do not need to contact the council.
Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for performance and finance, said:
Throughout the pandemic we’ve made sure that York’s businesses are getting their grants as quickly as possible.
“As we move into Tier 3, we want to remove any additional stress so if we can pay grants based on existing information, we will.
“So if you have applied for grants in the last 8 weeks, you shouldn’t have to reapply now.”
Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy and strategic planning, said:
Making sure grants get to businesses as quickly and simply as possible has been central to our pandemic response. This protects jobs, the supply chain and the city’s wider economy.
“If you haven’t applied for a grant recently, please check what you may be eligible for and apply straight away www.york.gov.uk/COVID19BusinessGrants. Council staff are once again ready to put in a huge effort to get this money into businesses bank accounts as quickly as possible
“While we have shaped the Additional Restricted Grants to help catch some of the businesses that have missed out on government support, we’re continuing to call on the Government to deliver more.
“As always, I would urge businesses who have fallen through the cracks, to please contact us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks to all the businesses who have already got in touch with the team who are looking at ways to provide help,
“There is also a lot more local support for businesses beyond these grants. Please get in touch with Make it York, York BID or the Federation of Small Businesses as soon as possible to find out more.”
To get notification when grant applications open, and up to date info on other business support, sign up for our regular bulletins here https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates
Let’s look after each other
After the city woke up this morning in very high restrictions the council is reiterating that support is available for residents and businesses and asking people to look after each other.
From this morning York is under very high restrictions which mean:
- We cannot mix with other households indoors
- We can only meet people outdoors in open public spaces in groups of up to six (that means we can no longer meet in private gardens)
- Reduce your number of journeys, avoid travel outside the area unless needed
- Work from home if possible
- All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries
- Retail can remain open
Recently York has seen a sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus cases which is placing pressure on health services. The validated rate at 24 December stands at 240.2 cases per 100,000, above the regional average of 175.6. Cases are continuing to rise with the provisional rate for York standing at 312.4 per 100,000 at 28 December.
If you’re struggling to manage, or you don’t have any support, but need it because of COVID-19, our helpline is here to help you through this difficult time. Contact the Council by email: email@example.com or telephone: 01904 551550.
During this period of very high restrictions residents are being asked to keep it safe, keep it local and support local businesses.
Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council, said:
These restrictions mean further changes to the way we live our lives and, undoubtedly, this will be difficult for many.
“The spirit of our wonderful city has been demonstrated throughout this pandemic and I know we will all do what we can to look after each other.
“Please check in on friends, family and neighbours in a Covid-secure way and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
“Please also remember to support our local businesses, who have done so much for our local communities throughout the year. Shops remain open and some bars and restaurants will be offering takeaway and delivery services.”
Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, said:
We have reached the end of an incredibly challenging year for the city. Whilst we are all glad to see the back of 2020, please be safe and see in the new year at home.
“We need to all take extra care as the virus is increasing across the city. These next few months will be difficult but with the vaccine rollout there is hope but we aren’t there yet. Remember that 1 in 3 people do not have symptoms of the virus but may still be infectious. So take steps to protect yourself and remember hands, face, space.
“Looking after our physical and mental health will be vital. Please continue to exercise outdoors but do so safely, following the new rules and keeping a safe distance from those we don’t live with.”
By working together we can save lives, please:
- Meet others outside and in small numbers (the rule of six applies)
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more with soap and water
- Wear a face covering when in busy public spaces
- Give people space – 2m is best
- Self-isolate when asked to by test and trace or if you have symptoms
- Get a symptom-free test if you are eligible (book online)
The river Ouse burst its banks this week. It was followed by icy weather. Most people tried to make the best of it!
We’ve reported the footpath on the odd numbered side of Askham Lane. It is unsafe as a result of damage by tree roots.
January to March
The rest of the quarter – and indeed the year – was to be dominated by the fight against the pandemic