As the Government confirms that coronavirus restrictions will ease further from Monday (17 May), the County Council encourages North Yorkshire residents to keep up their good work so that everyone can enjoy the freedoms of summer.
The County Council’s Unlock Summer campaign is already under way. Residents can find it across the council’s social media channels, out on the county’s streets and in cafés and takeaways. The messages encourage people to carry on sticking to the rules to unlock the benefits of each next step in the Government’s road map.
“The campaign is a friendly reminder to us all about what we need to do to build on the freedoms we have unlocked so far, so that we can enjoy the summer as normally as possible,” said Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health.
“Look out for our Unlock Summer messages and, in the meantime, I offer a heartfelt thank you to everyone for all you have done to get us to this point.”
From Monday, changes will include pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants being able to serve customers indoors. Venues such as cinemas and play areas will be able to open, as will hotels, hostels and B&Bs. Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors. Restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal.
Louise Wallace said: “It’s positive that we are seeing low infection rates in the county, and no doubt we are all rightly looking forward to the further relaxation of restrictions.
“The chance to see family and friends in our own homes and to seize more opportunities to socialise and to enjoy entertainment is welcome as summer beckons. But we must not become complacent. Please continue to be careful and cautious.
“We have come such a long way since the peak of cases over the winter and the effort of everybody in keeping our friends, families and communities safe from the virus has made a difference.
“As we continue to move along the road map, getting vaccinated is an essential part of this. Please do take up your opportunity to be vaccinated when it is your turn, and please do get both doses.
“Continue to be considerate and do the right thing by looking after yourself and by practising hands, face, space and letting in fresh air.”
Businesses are backing the Unlock Summer campaign.
Karen Mortimer is co-owner of Sandside Café in Sandsend, which has welcomed customers outdoors since the previous easing of restrictions on 12 April.
She said: “People have been ready to come out, they want to come out, they are ready to socialise. They want to chat to us and we are keen to see them.
“We are looking forward to giving particularly some of our older customers the opportunity to come indoors. I think when people can be indoors more will want to come.
“We would ask customers to be patient, to follow the guidelines and to understand that our staff are only doing what is best for customers and for the business.”
Provenance Inns, which includes the West Park Hotel in Harrogate among its seven venues around the area, has been making the most of enforced closures ahead of welcoming back guests.
Anthony Blundell, hotel commercial manager, said: “We feel we have risen to every challenge and made the most of the downtime, preparing ourselves for reopening with redecoration and refurbishments and trying to put our best foot forwards. We are most looking forward to our guests returning and being able to look after them again and being able to get back to some form of normality.”
Staff at North Yorkshire Water Park, on the A170 near Wykeham, are enjoying seeing visitors once again taking part in the many activities it offers, including swimming, kayaking, cycling and walking.
General manager Gareth Davies said: “Welcoming people back is one of the best things. You can see the joy on their faces. They are over the moon to do something and that gives us a buzz.
“You hear the laughter, the screams of enjoyment when they are jumping into the water. We are seeing again familiar faces that have been using the lake for many years. It’s good to catch up. You are building those relationships again and it’s brilliant.”