Shopping centres quiet

On the third day of trading shopping centres around the City were reporting only steady shopper numbers.

There were spaces available in all car parks.

The unspectacular start may result in calls for the Council, and its agent Make it York, to step up publicity, street entertainment and special deals on car parking.

Plenty of free parking spaces at the Designer Centre at lunchtime today.

Meanwhile support for the campaign to have the Museums Gardens reopened is gaining momentum.

Paul Fawkesley, Founder of Treasure Hunt York, has emailed his support for the reopening

How did York’s first day of shopping go in the City centre

A lot is riding on the future of the City centre economy this week as most shops are now reopening. Shopper numbers yesterday were modest – broadly comparable to the numbers that you might have seen on the streets on a Monday in February.

This may step up as the week progresses and residents realise the choice that is available and that car parking space is easy to find (the Council have not discounted parking charges yet).

The reopening of pubs, cafes, libraries and hairdressers – and a loosening of public transport restrictions – would also bring a boost to visitor numbers although such changes are still some time away. It may be even longer before some major visitor and cultural attractions open their doors.

It will also be a few days before “footfall” figures are available (assuming that the cameras have been switched back on).

Generally, “social distancing” was being observed well by those visitors who did venture out. The City centre is clean and uncluttered. Buskers are out and about again but it will require the authorities to commission background entertainment if a “buzz” is to return to the pedestrian areas.

The Castle car park – which the Council is threatening to close – was about half full on Monday
Marygate car park was also half full. The social distancing lane – which reduces the car parks capacity – was little used
When cyclists and pedestrians appeared in Marygate they made their own decisions about were to walk and cycle. Ironically, in the photo, a cyclist has dismounted and is using the internal traffic lane of the car park. This could have been shared anyway without reducing the car park capacity.
Coney Street Monday lunchtime
High Petergate
“Lets be York” placards. From the “be alert” school of public slogans?
Not many queues in evidence. Those that were moved quickly like this one outside Marks and Spencer
Parliament Street
St Helens Square
There are several empty premises in the City centre. At other shops “closing down” sale notices are displayed.

So how did the first days shopping go around York


Local shopping streets like Foxwood Lane/Beagle Ridge Drive mostly continued trading through the lock-down. All but the hairdressers are open. No problems with parking today and a few shoppers around at lunchtime

Coop on Beagle Ride Drive has been popular throughout the lock-down period
Secondary shopping area

Acomb is York’s second largest shopping area. Its focal store (Morrisons) has remained open throughout the pandemic and has undertaken an increased number of home deliveries

Acomb Car park about 505 full at lunchtime today
Most shops in Acomb have reopened. Exceptions are hairdressers, a charity outlet and cafes (although outside/takeaway service available.
A “nail bar” will open ins an empty unit shortly
Specialist shopping streets

Bishopthorpe Road has established a reputation for itself as a bijou shopping destination with good quality independents predominating. It became mired in controversy a few weeks ago when local Councillors campaigned successfully for the road to be closed to southbound vehicles. It is unclear how this has affected trade but the area was generally quiet today at lunchtime. Road works start on nearby Nunnery Lane this evening. Most shops are open. There was limited space in the dedicated car park

The contraflow cycle “lane” is controversial. The existing northbound cycle lane has been abandoned.
The bollards were placed on the road to encourage social distancing.
Road works starting this evening

We’ll take a separate look at how the first day of the city centre shopping arrangements have gone.

Coronavirus York updates: 17th April 2020

Coronavirus cases up in York

EIGHT more patients with coronavirus have died at York NHS trust hospitals. NHS England said a total of 65 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 had now died at York Hospital and Scarborough Hospital, which are both run by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest figures from Public Health England show there were 160 confirmed coronavirus cases in the City of York Council area today, compared with 153 yesterday.

Over £100m paid out to businesses in response to Coronavirus

A York Council media release claims that “5,500 York businesses have now benefited from over £100m of grants and relief as part of City of York Council’s efforts to support businesses and protect jobs during the Coronavrirus outbreak”.

The media release pointedly doesn’t reveal how many claims are outstanding, how many have been rejected or how long processing is taking.

The Council says that “a specialist team have worked round the clock to ensure businesses get the government grants and business rates relief as quickly as possible, whilst carrying out rigorous checks to make sure that fraudsters cannot take advantage of the situation.

The £100m is made up of two main funding sources, business rates relief which accounts for £66m and a further £34m in business grants, paid out to over 2500 accounts”.

Since opening applications for the grants the council says it has received over 3500 applications and has been working to speed up a process which includes government-defined requirements to:

  • collect company information including VAT registration details
  • clear every application through the government’s anti-fraud systems
  • verify bank details and company identity

The council is working through the remaining payments as fast as possible. This includes carrying out anti-fraud checks for companies which have never had a financial relationship with the council before, and those where clarity is required over who is liable for business rates – and therefore the grant – at the property.

The council is reminding businesses that it may contact them by phone, and to follow this advice to speed up the process and guard against fraud.

  • We may contact you by phone. Make sure you have your unique application form reference number – which you received after you applied for the grant – and your business rates account number to hand. We may also use part of your bank details to verify your identity. Only the council and the correct applicant will know these details. 
  • The council will never ask you for a payment. If you are at all suspicious, hang up the phone and contact the public protection team straight away, by email 01904 551525.
  • Please don’t contact the council just to check on the timing of your payment as this will only slow payments down, and please do not reply to this email as we will not be able to respond.

Any business which believes it is eligible for the government grants but is yet to apply should do so immediately at

  • We’re contacting all businesses in these cases to try and resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
  • Urge any business that hasn’t applied to get in touch. We will chase all those we believe are eligible soon.

Leader of City of York Council, Cllr Keith Aspden, said:

“We have listened to businesses and recognised that processing these payments as quickly as possible was vital to ensuring the long-term resilience of businesses and York’s economy. That is why council officers have been working round the clock to progress these payments, whilst ensuring all the required checks are met.”

“I hope that the support provided by the Council will help local businesses during this difficult period and continue to support York’s vibrant local economy. I would also like to thank officers for their hard work and dedication to get these payments to businesses as quick as they have.”

“For businesses who do not meet the requirements for the Government’s businesses grants, we have created a local emergency fund totaling £1 million to support the city’s small and micro businesses, and I would urge any businesses who hasn’t already done so, to get in touch with the Council and see what support is on offer to them.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the Economy and Strategic Planning, said:

“It was clear to us just how important it was to get the grant payments to all these businesses as quick as possible. They form an integral part of York’s economy, bringing in £2bn annually and supporting thousands of jobs.

We’re also providing a range of support, advice and guidance for businesses, including free advertising across our local media for any businesses still operating.”


It’s still peak food shopping day for some people so supermarkets may be busy. Generally supermarkets are returning to their “normal” hours to ease queue lengths. Relatively few shortages with maximum purchase limits also being eased.

ASDA are now saying that their hours will be 8:00am – 10:00pm Mon – Sat (Sun 10:00am – 4:00pm)

ALDI now have the same opening hours (8:00am – 10:00pm). Queue priority given to emergency and NHS workers.

Lidl (Hours same).

Waitrose About as much chance of getting a delivery slot as winning the Euro Millions lottery. (Good luck with tonight’s draw)

All stores have now confirmed what the @FoxwoodRA queue monitoring web site had already concluded. They are least busy (normally) after 2:00pm with very few queues in the late evening

A new app has been launched which aims to tell potential shoppers how busy local stores are in “real time”. It seems to depend on users reporting what they find on their shopping trip -so a bit limited in York at the moment. Still it might take off. Download from the App store (Crowdless)

Community hubs

Sources within the Council say that the support Hubs that they set up are “very quiet”. They have adequate numbers of volunteers to deal with current demand levels.

Officially the Council briefs that, “Almost 3,300 volunteers are signed up to the council’s scheme help the most vulnerable and all are offered safeguarding training and information governance training to protect people’s personal information. Among the volunteers deployed, 50 are working alongside the city’s Local Area Co-ordinators and nearly 140 are working out of the community hubs

 Thousands of welfare calls have been made to vulnerable or medically shielded residents by the council’s volunteering network, in addition to the contacts being made by York CVS, Age UK and other partners. As well as checking on their immediate wellbeing, these calls mean vulnerable people have someone to speak to and also can get the latest information about the support available to thm and how they can access it should they need it.

 Some volunteers are registered with or assigned to work with partners like Move the Masses, GoodGym or York Neighbours. The volunteers are asked to carry out a wide range of tasks, the majority are for shopping or collecting prescriptions”.

 Adult social care

A Council briefing says, “In response to these unprecedented times, and in line with Government guidance, our priorities in adult social care during COVID-19 are to:

  • work with the NHS to ensure people are discharged from hospital and supported in the community with appropriate health and social care
  • safeguard and protect those adults considered most at risk in our city
  • respond to urgent and immediate care and support requirements
  • work with our local care homes and care providers to support clinically vulnerable communities
  • support our local carers who are looking after clinically vulnerable people

Advice for parents

Today’s e-newsletter for families includes an important message:

Coping with a crying baby can be difficult at any time, but particularly challenging at the moment, when stress levels at home may be increased. ICON is a programme which can help you or your partner to cope with infant crying:

I – Infant crying is normal
C – comforting methods can help
O – It’s ok to walk away
N – never, ever shake a baby

Download the ICON leaflet for parents and carers here:

Speak to someone if you need support, such as your friends, Midwife, GP or health visitor. For more information visit

To get in touch with our Health Visitor Teams please call
01904 555475 (Monday to Friday 08:30-17:00) or email

Coronavirus York updates – 15th April 2020

Coronavirus cases and deaths in York

Latest figures from Public Health England show there were 149 confirmed cases in the City of York Council area today compared with 129 yesterday.

There have been an additional 2 deaths at the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Council leaders thank York businesses for their swift PPE response

Council leaders have thanked local organisations after 15 businesses and groups responded to the authority’s request for them to share un-used personal protective equipment (PPE).

Last week, City of York Council appealed to the Government for additional personal protective equipment (PPE), and to local businesses for any spare PPE, so it can be used to support the city’s care workers.  Although the council’s care teams currently have sufficient PPE, stocks nationally are running low, and priority is being given to NHS staff.

Offers of help have come in from some unusual sources, including a local croquet club, a cat café, hairdressers, plasterers, dental practices and nail bars.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

“I would like to thank local groups and businesses for their incredible response to our call for additional PPE and we are immensely grateful for what you have given us.

“I have made the case to the Government that additional PPE equipment is urgently needed for our adult social care sector and they must provide assurances about ongoing supplies for the weeks ahead.”

“Social care is at the frontline of the Coronavrius outbreak and I know that in York, our staff are doing an incredible job in extremely difficult circumstances. They are, of course, also doing a dangerous job, putting themselves at risk to protect those most vulnerable.  We must prioritise their safety, alongside the safety of those that they are supporting.”

The items of PPE needed are disposable plastic aprons, gloves, black bags, masks, eye protection goggles, alcohol based hand sanitiser and hard surface wipes.

Anyone who thinks they may have useful PPE should email

Longer queues at Morrisons Acomb this lunchtime

Long queue out onto Front Street from Morrisons Acomb this lunchtime. The store is usually least busy in the late evening period. There is also a long pipeline now for home deliveries from the store (3 weeks).

Lidl is not busy, nor Sainsburys on Beckfield Lane. Tesco Acomb Wood Drive had a queue of 6.

Sadly still no update from the York Council about the publication of a food & pharmacy home delivery database.

Over £34m Coronavirus business payments set to land in businesses accounts this week

Following the council’s promise to accelerate payments of the Government’s business grants to local businesses, over £34m has been processed by the Council to be paid into business bank accounts.

Council officers have worked throughout the Easter weekend to ensure over 2,500 businesses will receive their payments as quickly as possible. Some businesses may get their payment later in the week, as teams carry out rigorous fraud checks to ensure all the claims are genuine. We will also be contacting businesses who are yet to claim.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“Processing these payments and supporting our local businesses is absolutely crucial  and a key priority as part of our coronavirus response.  That is why we have committed to processing these payments faster and Council staff have been working hard over the bank holiday weekend to ensure these payments reach businesses as quickly as possible.

“We know that these payments are vital for York businesses who bring so much to our city. I’m pleased that we will see over £34,000,000 processed and paid to businesses this week and I would encourage any business yet to apply, to visit our website and apply as soon as possible.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, added:

“I would like to thank our teams who have worked tirelessly these past few days to ensure that these payments are ready to be processed as soon as the banks reopened.”

“They have done this whilst ensuring strict checks and balances are met to ensure fraudsters don’t take advantage of this situation.”

“We will continue to prioritise the payment of these grants, so businesses who have been negatively affected by this crisis can be supported.

Since opening applications for the grants the council has received over 3500 applications and has been working to speed up a process which includes government-defined requirements to:

  • collect company information including VAT registration details
  • clear every application through the government’s anti-fraud systems
  • verify bank details and company identity

More on York crematorium

Because of the high risks of spreading Coronavirus (Covid-19), funeral services at York Crematorium have been suspended inside the chapels. This exceptional measure is essential to protect the public, funeral directors and bereavement services staff, and is in line with other local authorities including in West Yorkshire, and the advice given by public health authorities.

Since the guidance was confirmed, the council has released additional details on how Saturday’s decision will be implemented. This means the following options are available to those who have a service planned at the crematorium:

  • close family members will be able to attend the Crematorium and wait for the hearse to arrive. The council will secure a covered space for this purpose
  • the minister/celebrant can spend up to 10 minutes with the family in prayer service and to commit the body outside, depending on faith practice
  • the celebrant/minister can also attend to give a service of 10 minutes within the chapel and we will still provide a short video free of charge for those families who wish for a copy.

Arrangements are also being made to ensure funerals are appropriately scheduled, so that services do not overlap, and that each family group are given plenty of privacy.

The council has also confirmed that on recent discussions with Government officials, the Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Communities has confirmed that they are content with the council’s approach, as agreed on the 11 April 2020.

Once the restrictions have lifted, the council will ensure that services of remembrance at York Crematorium will be offered to all families and a city wide multifaith remembrance ceremony will be held, supported by local faith leaders and the council.

In addition to the confirmed changes at York Crematorium, graveside burial services for York residents at Fulford Cemetery are still permissible, as long as families follow the rules in place which limit the number of mourners outside to 10 people, who must at all times observe social distancing.

Following the announcement of unattended cremations, faith groups and the council has confirmed that they will offer a faith officiant present at the crematorium to undertake the committal of the body according to the appropriate religious rites, and that celebrants or a minister can read your words during the private cremation and that this will be recorded for families.


Coronavirus York updates – 8th April 2020

Advice for cyclists

Some good advice taken from the Minsterfm web site.—wednesday-8th-april-live-local-updates/

One family group of cyclists was seen wobbling down the A1237 today. Parallel routes are safer! 


bicycle crop

Police are sharing safety advice for cyclists as more people take to two wheels for their form of daily exercise.

Despite quieter roads, police are warning cyclists they still need to take safety seriously, as well as observing new rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Government measures allow “one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household”.

The government goes on to say: “When doing this you must minimise the time you are out of your home and stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn’t from your household.”

Major Collision Investigation Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge said:

“While North Yorkshire roads are quieter, there are still lots of things cyclists need to be mindful of.

“Firstly, quieter roads have led to some drivers dramatically exceeding the speed limit. While we’re trying to enforce this as widely as possible, it puts cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk.

“Secondly, the government measures make it clear that cyclists need to practice social distancing and should only ride alone or with people from the same household. Please remember that, as our officers are out on patrol ensuring people follow these rules.

“Finally, we’d remind drivers that they should always expect the unexpected around each corner, especially at the moment, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so.”

North Yorkshire Police has also noticed that many new cyclists are taking to the road, including families with children who have started cycling as their one-a-day form of exercise.

The force is sharing the following seven safety tips with novices:

    • Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
    • If you are riding as a family with young children, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
    • Ensure that your bicycle is road-worthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision.
    • Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
    • If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
    • If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres, promoted by our Close Pass campaign, by filtering down to single file.
    • Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.

Sgt Aldridge added: “As long as people follow the government’s rules about how they exercise and observe social distancing while they do it, we want to give people the knowledge they need to ride safely.

“North Yorkshire is a beautiful county with a strong cycling scene and 6,000 miles of roads. That’s plenty of road for everyone if all road users stick to the law, take sensible precautions and look out for one another.”

Takeaway deliveries in west York on Google Maps

Google maps is now listing takeaways that do home deliveries.

Download the app from

In west York they list Buongiorno (tel. 07985 797754), Bengal Lounge (tel. 01904 796666), Taverna Yamas (tel. 07960 920979), Woodthorpe Spice (tel. 01904 700070), Salsa Pizza (01904 788888), Pizza Hut (01904 606222), Tea on the Green (01904 789380) and several others. 

Not sure how up to date it is. 

More deaths from coronavirus at York Hospital

A total of 19 patients with confirmed coronavirus have now died at York Hospital, following a further three fatalities.

Grass cutting and weed control

This service continues.

The Council are maintaining the public highway, which includes highway verges and pavements to keep them in a safe and accessible condition, because:

 • If the grass gets too long it will grow onto pavements causing slip/trip hazards and cause sight line issues at junctions

• if weeds grow on pavements they will become unsafe to walk on

• it will cause longer term damage to pavement surfaces, causing the breakup of the surface

• If we don’t keep the weeds under control at the beginning of the year this will put greater pressures on the service for the whole year.

 All frontline staff, whether gardening or street cleaning are working alone to ensure social distancing.

NB. Please also keep boundary hedges/tree cut trimmed back from public footpaths

Food deliveries

The Council says that  “Staff and volunteers of our community hubs and in the customer centre are continuing to work incredibly hard to support residents who need it. We have attached a document (who we are helping) which sets out who is deemed to be ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and the types of support we are offering them and others in communities across the city.

 The extremely clinically vulnerable above are supported by food parcels from community hubs.Government guidance on this group and how to protect and work with them  Click 

 In terms of wider support for residents who have asked for help with food:

 Those who are generally able and financially secure but who are not able to shop are given a list of food delivery businesses and/or link them to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid facebook groups *

  • Older or disabled residents who need help with shopping and are financially secure are referred to specialist voluntary organisations such as Age UK, Good Gym
  • The medically shielded are delivered the Government-provided food which the council supplements especially for those with special dietary needs eg diabetics or coeliacs
  • People eligible for Food Bank vouchers are sent a delivery from the food bank where appropriate
  • People struggling for other reasons ie anxiety, caring responsibilities, mobility etc are delivered a Council-sourced food box put together at the hubs.

 In addition, parents of children eligible for Free School Meals are given vouchers.

 As well as this support volunteers are helping to check on people’s wellbeing by calling individuals to check they are ok and also chat to them for a while to help them feel they aren’t alone.

 Vulnerable people who can ask City of York Council for help on or 01904 551550.Anyone can ask for help from   if they don’t currently get help from CYC or the NHS, or have any help from family or friends”.

*NB. The Council have still not published a list of shops undertaking home deliveries despite many requests.


Morrisons now providing an “essentials” telephone ordering/doorstep delivery service for the vulnerable


Yorwaste has become the latest employer to deploy theuir workfioece in support of street level public services.

Business grants

The Council started to make payments to local businesses on Monday. They will be working over Easter to complete the process. They are also making checks to weed out any fraudulent claims.

We have started making payments, with several million pounds worth of grants processed today. This is an entirely new process and we have a duty to quality assure every payment and protect York businesses grants from potential fraud. We have had 2,500 applications so far and need to run each one through the government’s anti-fraud software before we can process payments; this is to verify bank account details of organisations which have never had a financial relationship with us before. We’ve started contacting businesses as part of that process and appreciate your patience with us whilst we carry this out. Please remember we will only ask you to verify your details and would never ask you to make payments.

Support for children and young people

Kooth ( is commissioned by TEWV to offer mental health and well -being support to young people in York and North Yorkshire aged 11-18 years. The service provides young people with:

  • An opportunity to access support services anonymously
  • Access to BACP accredited counsellors via online chat
  • Access on to online articles and magazines written by counsellors
  • An opportunity for young people to write their own articles and to share their story
  • Young people can set their own personal goals and are supported by the counsellors online
  • Young people can access the support service from any internet device, 365 days a year.


  • If you have significant concern regarding a vulnerable pupil please contact MASH: 01904 551900, out of hours: 0845 0349417
  • If parents have questions regarding childcare, i.e. OOSC/PVI please direct them to:

House building

 To The Council says it is working to avoid delays to the council’s ambitious housing projects which might incur costs or slow the delivery of much-needed homes.

 Lowfield Green

Following a 48-hour pause on construction at Lowfield Green (to complete a thorough risk assessment) a new site working procedure has been drawn up which allows construction of the 140 new homes to continue. The new way of working also keeps building contractor Wates’s employees and their self-employed contractors safely on site.

 Ordnance Lane

Momentum around resident engagement has kept going! A workshop for residents on intergenerational living moved online to involve 19 residents and officers. It used a combination of pre-recorded presentations and a live panel with local residents taking centre stage.

Corona virus update – 30th March 2020

Gangs of youths

Police request, “If any residents see groups of youths or any persons gathering in a location or not adhering to the government guidelines to please ring 101 at the time so that officers can attend the location asap and obtain the details of those involved and give appropriate advice etc. We’ve got extra patrols out on foot and cycles at this time”.

Supermarkets generally quiet

Most supermarkets in York are now quieter than they have been recently. Many now have stocks of toilet paper, eggs, spray disinfectant etc all of which have been in short supply. We are still pressing the authorities and businesses to use social media to highlight busy times, stock shortages, home delivery pipelines etc. For a City which prides itself on innovation and hi tech literacy this has been a bit of a letdown.

NB. No shortages in Waitrose York earlier today. Well organised by helpful staff

Corona virus update 29th March 2020

Roads and cycle paths very quiet today. Combination of health worries and cool weather?

York – Selby cycle track (Saturday)
A64 southern by pass (Sunday)

Shops are also less busy

30 in a fast moving queue on Saturday lunchtime at Tesco Extra on Tadcaster Road. Sunday the queue is down to just 3 people.

Other local stores have short queues or none at all

No queue today at Tesco Express on Acomb Wood Drive

Seems to be a lot more people wearing face masks today!