Coronavirus York updates; 11th January 2021.


SEVEN (7) additional deaths were announced by the York Hospital Trust today. Five occurred yesterday (10th), one on the 9th and one on 7th.

The cumulative toll since 1st of September is now 185.

Test results

Number of tests being conducted in York is rising. Percentage positive still below 20%

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT (128) additional positive test results have been announced today. That brings the cumulative total to 9239.

The latest validated cases /100k population figure is 627.43, slightly up on yesterday. It is expected to trend up to 660 before beginning to fall towards the end of the week.

The rate of increase has clearly now slowed.

At neighbourhood level there has been a significant drop in case numbers in Woodthorpe/Acomb Park

Numbers in Westfield/Chapelfields continue to rise, as they do in Clifton Without and Acomb.

York is now close to the national case number average (which is reducing). Figures at county and regional level are also stabilising.


According to media reports, Citywide Health – York’s Independent Pharmacy Group – has posted on its Facebook page that the milestone of vaccinating the 10,000th patient York passed on Saturday.

It said the the Askham Bar site operated by Nimbuscare had Covid vaccinated 6,000 patients, whilst another 4,500 patients had been vaccinated at Haxby Group Practice.

“Citywide Health provided pharmacy support throughout the day, including the introduction of the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine,” it said.

“York has now delivered a first Covid vaccination to over 50 per cent of over 80s and care home residents and staff.

“Practices are working through patient lists and booking appointments for those over 80. Practices will be offering the vaccine to the remaining 50 per cent, which should happen over the next two weeks.”

West Offices customer centre to move online

Following the latest Government advice that people should only travel for essential reasons, City of York Council will be closing its customer centre at West Offices from Tuesday 12 January.

This will help to further protect residents and staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus in the city.

As people have been following the guidance and contacting the customer centre online or over the phone where possible, there has been a large drop in the number of people coming into West Offices.

During this time, our priority is to ensure we are able to provide essential services to those in most need and do not create an increased risk of infection.

All welfare assistance, business support information and forms are available online and those residents who need more help can call the customer centre on 01904 551550 for further help.

For routine business, as always, residents can call our customer service team during opening hours. People can also visit  where they can access most services 24/7.  With many services operating under different arrangements, customers are urged to visit the council’s website for the latest information.

Essential face to face conversations with vulnerable residents and those accessing social care will still be facilitated, as part of their existing care.  Any visits to individual’s homes will follow public health guidance.

Existing community and neighbourhood support will continue and the council’s new network of community hubs are continuing to ensure vulnerable people are identified and are able to access the support they need.

Arrangements are being made for Blue Badge assessment appointments to continue at West Offices whilst the customer centre is closed, and those arrangements will be communicated with all those attending.

People needing help with no other source in place, can email or phone 01904 551550 and they will be contacted.

Executive Member for Finance and Performance, Cllr Nigel Ayre, said:

As always, the safety of both residents and staff is of paramount importance. It has, once again, become of national importance that we all play our part in reducing the spread of coronavirus to protect our communities.

During this difficult time, we have taken the decision to temporarily close the customer centre while the current Government guidelines are in place.

“With the Governments advice to only leave the home for food, work or exercise, we have seen a marked drop in visits to our customer centre and instead, people have been accessing our services through different means, either by phone or online.

“I’d like to reassure people that the Council is still open for business and residents will still receive the same level of service over the phone or online, we just need to be extra careful to minimise face to face contact to help slow the spread of the virus.”

All of our welfare benefits, including council tax and housing, and emergency schemes are available online with assistance available over the phone.

All services previously provided face to face in the customer centre by appointment, for example revenues and benefits, housing, planning and Citizens Advice York will all be available over the phone.

Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.30pm except on bank holidays. Remember most queries can be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on our website.

The council will closely monitor and follow Government advice and reopen the customer centre when national guidelines allow.

Large parts of Councils West Offices rented to other organisations

A response to a Freedom of information enquiry has revealed scale of sub-letting of Council premises.  

West Offices

At West Offices the following organisations rent space;

  • York and District Citizens Advice Bureau –  26 workstations plus associated meeting rooms
  • NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group – 105 workstations
  • Public Health England – 40 workstations
  • Network Rail – 88 workstations
  • Probation Service – 31 workstations
  • North Yorkshire Police – 12 workstations

It is unclear how the impeding restructuring of Public Health England services will affect current arrangements.

The Council has refused to reveal how much it receives in rent from the tenants.

The intention when moving to West Offices nearly a decade ago was that the Council would release 16 properties that they occupied at that time.

These included De Grey House, Exhibition Square, Mill House, North Street, 10-12 George Hudson Street, York, 20 George Hudson Street, 18 Back Swinegate, 1A & 1B Swinegate East, 1E Swinegate East, 50 York Road, Acomb, St Leonards Place/2 & 4 Museum Street, 11 Little Stonegate, 1 Blake Street, St. Anthony’s House, Clarence Street, Ashbank, 1 Shipton Road, Clifton, York, YO30 5RE. Holly Croft, Wenlock Terrace, Fulford Road,
The Guildhall, St. Helen’s Square, 5-6 King’s Court.

These premises have been vacated although two (Ashbank and the Guildhall) have remained empty incurring continuing costs for taxpayers.

Most staff have not yet returned to work at West Offices following the pandemic.

It remains unclear what proportion of staff will continue to “work from home” in the future. If the number is significant then additional space at West Offices may become available for sub-letting.

Coronavirus York updates; 28th July 2020

Deaths and test results

There have been no additional hospital deaths or positive test results reported in York today

There have been no further deaths in care homes with the total remaining at 77

According to the latest ONS figures, up to 25th July, there had been 168 deaths registered in the City giving the cause of death as COVID-!9.

Where to find an “eat out” discount restaurant

Not too many restaurants in the Westfield area have registered yet for the government backed “eat out to help out” discounts. The list does include the Indian Ocean on The Green and the Carlton Tavern.

Click here to see a list of participating restaurants near you

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at these establishments:

  • to get 50% off your food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a total value of £10 per person if you eat or drink in
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 August and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You don’t need a voucher to use the scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

Alcoholic drinks and service charges are excluded from the offer.

Check which chain restaurants have registered for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

York Council offices – limited reopening using appointment system

The York Council has been under increasing pressure in recent days to provide a road map back to more normal public service access arrangements in the City.

West Offices

Today they have said,

“From 27th July we are starting to reopen our customer centre by appointment only.

Following government guidance we will continue to ask residents  to use our website or contact our team by email or phone in the first instance. We do appreciate that it may not be possible to resolve all queries in this way, so our customer service team will book residents an appointment where needed.

Residents should not attend their appointment if they;

  • Have any symptoms of Covid-19 such as a fever, new repetitive cough, or change to sense of smell or taste
  • Share a household with anyone who is currently displaying Covid-19 or is self-isolating due to suspected Covid-19
  • Have been advised by the NHS track and trace to self-isolate as a precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19

How will it work?

From 27 July we are reopening our Customer Centre by appointment only. We are asking people to call our customer centre to book an appointment. We will try, where possible, to resolve their query over the phone.   However if this can’t be done, we will arrange an appointment.

Following government guidance, we will have a reduced number of staff in West Offices, with the majority continuing to work from home to support residents over the phone or by email.

Why by appointment only?

The safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff is our utmost priority. Government guidance remains that where possible people should work from home, throughout the pandemic thousands of queries have been resolved without the need for face to face appointments as people used the website or contacted our customer service team by phone.  We understand there may be some queries or specific individuals that will require in person support and are opening on a limited basis from 27 July, by appointment only.

What safety measures are in place?

We have introduced a number of measures to help keep our staff and customers safe including:

  • Touchless hand sanitiser station for all customers to use on arrival
  • Perspex screens for personal protection
  • Time between appointments
  • Limiting the number of staff and customers in the building at any one time by operating by appointment only

What services can people access by visiting?

Appointments can be made when a query can’t be managed over the phone or online for the below services:

  • Housing benefits
  • Council tax
  • Concessionary travel
  • Planning
  • Blue badges
  • Waste, highways and environment

For information on council services visit, call 01904 551550 or email

We hope that the Council will actively promote how access to all help and advice services can now be gained.

York Council navel gazing day

With City eyes focusing on how well the retail economy will perform today, the Council is taking the chance to slip through a restructuring of its management team.

West Offices face major shake up after lock-down ends

The changes are part of the continuing fall out following the premature departure of the Authorities last Chief Executive.

A meeting today will formally adopt a temporary structure. One of the aims is to save over £80,0000 a year in management costs.

It has already made one disastrous decision in appointing a “Director of Governance”. That post has presided over a drift into even great secrecy in decision making with one of the incumbents first initiatives being to stop the publication of answers to Freedom of Information requests.

This followed on from the previous Councils decision not to invite written questions and to publish the answers following Council meetings.

The long term problem of decisions being taken without consultation has been further compounded during the lock-down. The majority of decisions are now being announced on the Councils web site without any prior notification (much less any opportunity for residents to have any input). Background papers are published on the same day that the decision is announced

The proposed interim structure would effectively see the acting Chief Executive – or Chief Operating Operator as the title is being restyled – with 9 direct reports. That is an unworkable structure, which totally misses the opportunity to have a “Head of Paid Service” with mainly strategic & leadership objectives.

There is little option but to continue the existing arrangements until the City has negotiated the health crisis.

Lock-down saw the best and worst of local authority traits. High levels of commitment to public services from junior staff; indecision and, in some cases, invisibility from some managers.

The Council will need to learn the lessons of the last 6 months.

It must then restructure, and recruit, to address identified failings.

York Council web site crashes again

Not for the first time, the Council’s web site has been unavailable to residents this weekend.


The Council was heavily criticised a few weeks ago when it failed to use social media effectively to keep residents up to date on progress being made following a similar loss of service.

Now no one has even bothered to put a note on their Facebook page or to use Twitter

It is an important issue as many residents seek to use the online functions – for example to pay bills – at the weekend when they have spare time available.

It is also the cheapest way for the Council to process contact with its customers.

Sadly the failure  is all to typical of the Councils muddled priorities

Council parade tomorrow (Friday) – Congestion on Lendal Bridge expected.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Some Councillors are apparently “processing” from the Guildhall to the “new” Council offices at Toft Green on Friday (11:00am). Details of the road closures can be seen by clicking here.

Quite why it has taken 6 months for the Councillors to find their way to the new building is a mystery.

A simple ribbon cutting event by the Lord Mayor in March would have cost little and allowed people to get on with their work.

There have been repeated assurances by the Labour leadership that the Guildhall will remain at the democratic heart of the City. Those assurances appear to lack conviction now that Councillors have sampled the hi tech luxury of West Offices.

We will see.

Residents can, themselves, experience the delights of West Offices on Saturday.

Those arriving with their full wheelie bin will be given an escorted tour of the *hear no evil” call centre.

The Council web site says, “Saturday 21 September from 10am to 4pm West Offices will be opening up for free public tours of the building, with the aid of colourful characters from York’s past to illustrate its historic connections, demonstrations of the City of York Hologram tour app plus some musical entertainment from CANsing, the council employees choir”.