Covid-19 risk in crowds in North Yorkshire

This story was published 14 May 2020

People planning a trip to the coast or other visitor hot spots in North Yorkshire this weekend could find they can’t wash their hands, stick to the social distancing guidance or even park their car.

Stay safe in North Yorkshire

The warning follows concerns that large numbers of people will head to the county’s beauty spots, following the Government’s relaxation of the rules on travel and exercise. There are particular fears that places like Whitby and Scarborough could see an influx of visitors, so action is being taken to try and support people to stay at least 2 metres apart.

The County Council’s executive member for Access, Cllr Don Mackenzie, said: “We appreciate that many people will want to make the most of the fact that they can now travel to take their exercise and stay outdoors for longer. However, too many people have made too many sacrifices for us to lose sight of the risks with this virus. So we are asking people to plan ahead. To consider the fact that many places offer very limited handwashing and toilet facilities and where they are open there will almost certainly be queues. Paths and pavements may well be really busy, making staying at least 2 metres apart almost impossible. On top of that we have taken the decision to temporarily close our large on-street parking facilities in Whitby. We will also close Marine Drive and Royal Albert Drive to restrict parking and to provide more space for pedestrians to apply the social distancing guidelines.

“Throughout the weekend we will monitor the number of pedestrians and we may have to close more roads to protect the public as best we can.”

Chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, Richard Flinton, said: “Please adhere to any ‘no parking’ and ‘road closed’ signs you come across and ask yourself if it’s worth it.

“Why not do the right thing and protect yourself and your family by staying close to home. Everything will still be here when it’s safe to welcome you back and we are really grateful for your patience and support.”

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Directors of Public Health, said: “The best protection for you and your family is to keep away from crowds and busy places, to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water and to stay at least 2 metres away from anyone not in your household. Every single person has their own part to play in this.

“We have come a long way and seen incredible sacrifice in North Yorkshire. Many front line staff are still risking their own lives every day to care for people with Covid-19. Please don’t let their selflessness and commitment be for nothing.

“Let’s carry on fighting this virus in the same way we have been. By sticking to the basic guidance that we know works.”

“In Scarborough and Whitby and other coastal resorts, the borough council’s car parks and toilets remain closed. Across the county the vast majority of shops and cafes are also closed. Anyone heading to the countryside or coast is advised to think carefully about the risks and to exercise in open spaces away from the most popular places. No parking signage will be in place at the above places from tomorrow and through the weekend.”

We are working with multiagency partners to try an monitor impact this weekend and please be aware that we are also closing some streets and car parks and suspending parking bays which are listed below:

  • Filey: pay and display parking bays closed from tonight.
  • Scarborough: Foreshore and Marine Drive/Royal Albert closed from 8am Saturday to 6pm Sunday.
  • Whitby: pay and display bays on West Cliff closed from 8am Saturday to 6pm.
  • Harrogate: Commercial Street, James Street, Albert Street barrier off parking bays until further notice.
  • Knaresborough: High Street barrier off parking bays until further notice.
  • Ripon: High Skellgate and Westgate restricted width to create one lane and more footway space.
  • Pateley Bridge: High Street restricted width to create one lane.