Coronavirus York updates; 14th August 2020

Deaths and test results

There have been 3 additional positive test results in the City. That brings the cumulative total to 938.

There have been no additional hospital deaths

The Council has updated its commentary on how the pandemic is progressing. It is reproduced below

DIAGNOSED CASES (Pillar 1 and 2 combined)

• As at 13.8.20 York has had 935 cases, a rate of 443.9 per 100,000 of population. The England rate is 481.4. The Yorkshire & Humber rate is 610.3. The most recent case in York had a test specimen date of 10.8.20 (1 case).

• The PHE ‘Exceedance’ rating compares the no. of new cases over a 14 day period with the previous 6 weeks and provides a RAG rating to indicate if the previously observed trend in the no. of new cases is worsening. The latest rating for York (11.8.20) is Amber. The rating was triggered by a higher than ‘expected’ number of cases per 100 tests once in the last 14 days (2 cases with a specimen date of 9.8.20). We know that in recent weeks the number of cases have been low in York which has an effect on the thresholds used to determine the RAG rating – a small change can mean the difference between a red, amber and green rating. The exceedance report should not be considered in isolation but in context alongside other factors such as the recent total number of cases, COVID related deaths, outbreaks as well as changes in the local testing regime and local hotspot analysis.

• The latest weekly National Covid-19 Surveillance Report released on 7.8.20 and covering the week up to 4.8.20, showed that the 7 day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population tested under Pillar 1 and 2 was 1.43 for York. York was ranked 12th out of 150 local authorities (with 1 being the lowest rate).

• The latest validated 7 day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population for York is 2.9. This is for the 7 day period up to 7.8.20. This excludes cases with a sample date in the last few days due to partial data and lags in reporting. The national average is 9.9 and the regional average is 16.3

• As at 11.8.20, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 only) was 0.55% (8 positives out of 1,449 tests). The positivity rate in York is lower than national (1.3%) and regional (2.0%) averages.


The two sources about deaths from Covid-19 at LA level are ONS data and local registrar data. They are derived from the same source (civil registration data). ONS data is more comprehensive as it includes deaths of York residents which have occurred and been registered outside York. Local registrar data is useful as it provides a breakdown by age and gender. The most recently available data is summarised below:

• ONS weekly data: For deaths occurring up to 31st July 2020 and registered up to 8st August 2020, 171 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents (83 in hospital, 75 in care homes, 9 at home, 3 in a hospice and 1 in an ‘other communal establishment’). The number of deaths per 100,000 of population in York is 81.19 which is lower than the national average of 87.38

• ‘Excess’ deaths (ONS). In week 31 (25 July to 31 July), 27 deaths occurred in York, which is 3 fewer than the average weekly number for 2014-18. The number of deaths has now been lower than the 2014-18 average for 7 out of the last 10 weeks.

• Local Registrar data: In the weekly data received on 10.8.20 (for deaths occurring up to 5.8.20), a cumulative total of 162 deaths of CYC residents where COVID-19 was mentioned (confirmed or suspected) on the death certificate, have been registered. The average age of the people who died was 82.47, with an age range of 53-104. The age profile of those dying in York is slightly older than the national average. 86 of the 162 were male (53.1%), slightly less than the national average (55%). 81 of the deaths occurred in hospital and 81 were community deaths (e.g. at home or in a care home or hospice). 70 people (43.2%) died in nursing /care homes (the national average is 29.6%). In addition 13 people (8%) who normally resided in nursing/care homes in the CYC area, died in hospital.

Data on deaths occurring in hospital are shown below. Deaths are initially reported for York NHS Foundation Trust which includes Scarborough Hospital and the further breakdown by site can be delayed. From local registrar data, 58.5% of COVID-19 deaths occurring at York Hospital have been CYC residents. (NB NHS Trusts record deaths following a positive covid-19 test whereas ONS record deaths where covid-19 in mentioned on the death certificate so the totals are not the same).

• Deaths at York Hospital: As at 12.8.20, 134 deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were being cared for at York Hospital have been reported. 214 deaths have been reported by the wider York NHS Trust.

More businesses reopen tomorrow

  • Indoor theatre, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences.
  • The piloting of spectators at sporting events will resume, with a limited number of fans expected to be allowed to watch the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre over the weekend.
  • Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and soft play centres will be allowed to reopen.
  • “Close contact” beauty services such as facials, eyebrow threading and eyelash treatments will resume.
  • Wedding receptions for up to 30 guests will be permitted.
  • Pilots will take place at conference venues ahead of the expected resumption of business events from October 1 at the earliest.

Hairdressers will have to wear a face mask AND a clear visor New guidance will also mean that staff offering “close contact” services, including hairdressers, will now have to wear a face mask as well as a clear visor. The move, which follows new evidence from the scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) is aimed at protecting customers and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking.

Music event cancelled

Acomb Sports and Social Club

An outdoor music event due to be held at the Acomb Cricket Club Ground on The Green on Sunday has been cancelled. Nearly 500 tickets for the event had been sold but Council officials have now stepped in to halt the socially distanced event.

Stay safe and shop local

As more businesses are able to open from tomorrow, Saturday 15 August, the council is thanking residents for supporting local businesses and reminding people to stay safe and follow health guidance.

From tomorrow, bowling alleys, casinos and soft play centres will be allowed to open their doors, face coverings will be mandatory at all these locations unless you are exempt . Alongside this more beauty treatments, small wedding receptions and live indoor performances will be able to take place.

Executive Member for Economy and Strategic planning, Cllr Andrew Waller, said: “The response to our ‘Let’s be York’ campaign has been great with people once again enjoying the city, but in a safe, considerate and responsible way. It has been great to hear how people are continuing to shop local and support York’s wide range of independent businesses that help to animate the city.

I’d urge people to follow the recently updated guidance for wearing face coverings, where possible.  I would like to thank staff in the many shops and traders for the efforts that they are undertaking to work with the new requirements and advice, to help to keep us all safe and keep the city open for business.”

Johnny Hayes Chairman of Indie York, said: “York’s Independent businesses are really pleased that numbers visiting their businesses have been increasing day by day since lockdown was lifted. Things are still far from normal but without doubt the support of local residents is crucial to small local businesses. Shopping local and supporting Independents is I know very much appreciated by local business owners. So thank you and please keep on supporting our local independents. “

For the latest Government update on the easing of restrictions visit

The latest government advice on where, when and how you should wear a face covering, along with an exemption card template is available at

Taxpayers bonus from Rod Stewart concert

It looks like Council taxpayers will get a boost from those parking locally at the Rod Stewart concert which is being held on the Knavesmire on Saturday 1st June.

The Council will get the profits from car parking as the event falls outside the terms of the existing Racecourse lease.

Rod Stewart holds the official record attendance for a (free) outdoor concert. 3.5 million attended his gig at Copacabana beach in Rio a few years ago.

Rather fewer are expected to make their way to the Knavesmire in June

That TdF concert flop

3 years later the Council finally admits what went wrong

£185,000 loss on the Grand Departy

The investigation report, into failings in the running of events connected with the Tour d France’s visit to York in July 2014, has finally been published.

It reveals a catalogue of poor management decisions and bad communications together with a risky approach to the use of taxpayer’s money.

An investigatory team say that neither the former Council Leader nor Chief Executive had been prepared to give evidence to their Inquiry.

The report is heavily critical of the process used to try to establish a camping site on Monk Stray.

The scale of public opposition to use of the area had been under-estimated while previous licensing and planning applications results had been ignored. Basic errors such as quoting the wrong post code for the site had gone undetected. In the end, the plan was abandoned with camping facilities concentrated near the Millennium Bridge

The focus of concern was the “Grand DeParty” concert. The Inquiry confirmed that the event was conceived as a fund raiser but was only formally agree as late as April 2014. It was announced that 10,000 tickets would be sold at £25 each producing a profit of £150,000.

However, the external management consultants said in April 20154 that it was “far too late for an event date of 4th July

Subsequently an external provider (Cuffe and Taylor) were engaged to organise the concert but using an approach which “was highly informal; there was no clear evidence of a tendering process and the arrangement breached CYC procurement rules”.

No waiver to the rules was obtained.

The report goes on to say,

The Task Group found no evidence of any analysis of where the concert audience might come from following the loss of the Monk Stray campers. Without that analysis, but concerned about preserving ‘our reputation as a city’, the Strategic Lead decided to continue with the concert after discussing this with the Chief Executive and others.

At this point, the emphasis changed from one of balancing the books to getting people to come.

From 10 June 2014, tickets were being sold at half price, and in the last few days; free tickets were offered to staff, partners and local armed forces personnel”.

The Task Group found that negative reports about the concert appeared in local print and broadcast media, besides being promoted by an excouncillor on social media.

This and poor ticket sales meant that attendance was very poor – press reports estimated this at around 1500, far below what had been hoped for. Officers later conceded in hindsight that the concert line-up was wrong and a mix that was intended to appeal to everyone in the end appealed to very few.

There were concerns about safety at the event, which were exacerbated by publication of the minutes of the SAG’s post-concert review meeting”.

“It was not clear where the political responsibility for the concert lay until sometime after the event”. The Inquiry concluded that the Council Leader James Alexander was accountable for the concert arrangements.

Most of those responsible have now left the York Council.

The Council has said that a new Project Management Framework will ensure that similar mistakes are not made in the future

Lib Dems call for ‘Grand Départy’ Inquiry as minutes of safety committee raise further concerns

Liberal Democrat councillors are calling for an inquiry into the ‘Grand Departy’ music concert as part of a cross-party scrutiny review.

Meanwhile the minutes of two meetings of the Councils Safety Advisory Group have confirmed that there was internal concern about the organisational arrangements for the concert.

Safety committee meeting July 2014 Click to read original minutes

Safety committee meeting July 2014 Click to read original minutes

The minutes suggest that, had the target audience numbers actually attended, then safety concerns could have been high.

The minutes of the meetings can be read by clicking the links below.

Safety Advisory Committee 30th June 2014 (pre concert)

Safety Advisory Group 23rd July 2014 (post concert)

 Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, has submitted an official request for a scrutiny review into the “planning, promotion and delivery” of council organised events for the Tour De France.

Last week it was revealed that City of York Council overspent its budget for the Tour by £60,000 with the ‘Events and Festivals’ programme losing taxpayers £252,000.

 The poorly received ‘Grand Departy’ music concert at Huntington Stadium was the single biggest loss. The event cost £206,000 to stage but disappointing ticket sales meant only £19,000 in revenue was brought in, producing an overall loss of £187,000.

 Cllr Cuthbertsoncommented:


Desperate Council halves Huntington Stadium concert ticket prices

Council concert organiser displays sense of humour

Council concert organiser displays sense of humour

As we revealed yesterday, the Tour de France concert, scheduled for the 4th July, is being snubbed by York residents.

Now the Council has halved the cost of a family ticket – down from £100 to £50.

The offer also includes a ticket to the Grand Depart event at the Racecourse and will run until Monday 16th June.

What residents who have already paid the full price for tickets will think of this discount remains to be seen.

The concert features a group called “Loveable Rogues

Tickets are on sale now from and, and will be available from Visit York on Museum Street in York city centre by Friday (13th June) of this week

The Council has declined to say how many tickets for the event have been sold to date.

Meanwhile it looks like Bradley Wiggins – expected to be one of the main attractions for those attending the  Tour de France start – may not now be competing this year

Huntington Stadium concert – license application submitted

click to go to list of applications published by the York Council

click to go to list of applications published by the York Council

The application for a license, necessary before the Russell Watson concert can take place on 4th July, has now been published on the York Council’s web site

Residents have until 5th June to record any objections to the 10,000 capacity concert planned for the Huntington Stadium.

The Huntington Stadium usually has a 4000 capacity limit for Rugby League matches.

Quite why this application has been submitted by the Council so late in the proceedings – and after the commencement of ticket sales had been announced – is something of a mystery.

It is reminiscent of the plan to hi-jack Monk Stray for use as a campsite for the Tour event; a proposal which led to widespread public concern and eventually the imposition of addition restrictions by the licensing committee.

The main concerns at Huntington are likely to revolve around traffic management issues and public safety management both inside and outside the stadium.

The event is being held on a Friday which is one of the busiest days of the week in the shopping centre and on surrounding roads.

If the Licensing Committee turned down – or imposed a lower crowd limit – on the event then it is unlikely that any appeal against such a decision could be considered in the remaining time available before the event was scheduled to take place.