Test results and deaths
The government has revised its stats to show an additional positive test result in the York area on 29th June. This took the cumulative total to 899.
There has still not been any comment from the authorities about the success or otherwise of the contact tracing process in the local area. The next meeting of the York Councils “outbreak management board” is not due to take place for another week.
The cumulative total of deaths at York Trust hospitals remains at 214.
Where is the plan?
Some traders are reporting that takings yesterday were down compared to the previous Saturday.
The Council has been criticised for multiple failures with its parking strategy. It appears that the “phone only” 2 hours free parking was not applied if a shopper tried to pay for an extra hour (they were liable to be billed at full rate for the first 2 hours).
As we said when the scheme first started it was simply to complicated to be understood by casual visitors (even assuming that they had downloaded the mobile RingGo parking app).
Key shoppers car parks like Castle & Marygate were excluded from the scheme.
The Council compounded the problem by saying that the Castle car park would be closed, but without saying when. (They need to forget that idea for at least 12 months. This would give the City centre economy time to recover and for alternatives to become established)
Some traders have suggested that there should be free parking at all car parks from 3:00pm each day. That would at least have the merit of being understandable (and would also help the evening economy).
The Councils’ preferred alternative transport mode – cycling- still suffers from a lack of secure parking. This is also an acute issue at some suburban shopping locations.
The provision of additional “social distancing” space – at the expense of highways and car parking – has been largely random. In most cases like Marygate car park the provision has mostly been ignored by users.
In others, contraflow cycle lanes have introduced additional hazards.
All in all then, the lack of a thought through recovery strategy is becoming of more concern each day.
Marketing alone will not be enough.
In an occasional lucid moment the York Council has displayed some advertising flair. Not least with the widely applauded “Don’t be a Tosser” anti litter campaign.
They may also say that people are right to be very cautious about visiting busy locations. They would be right in saying that safety must come first.
But that doesn’t excuse the absence of a 3 – 6 month revitalisation strategy.
As regulations allow; arts, music, poetry, comedy and sports should come to open spaces throughout the City. Sub-urban areas and villages must be included. Most shops, takeaways, restaurants and hairdressers in those areas have now reopened.
They – like the arts – have had little support from the authorities.
A festival atmosphere would provide a huge lift for the morale of residents and visitors alike. It should encompass large visitor magnets like the Minster, Museums and Guildhalls.
But it does needs to start quickly now.