Help beat spread of virus by remembering rules on socialising

This story was published 16 October 2020

Health officials are urging people to follow the rule of six when socialising, to stay 2 metres apart from people they do not live with where possible and to wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult.

Rule of six graphic

As the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise in communities in North Yorkshire, people are being urged to observe the national Tier 1 restrictions which are in place across the county at all times. It comes following a sudden spike in confirmed cases among young people in Scarborough, where socialising and group activities may have contributed to the spread of the virus.

Organisers of group activities which are still legally able to take place, are required to ensure they are operating in a COVID-secure environment. For example, supervised activities for children, youth groups and activities such as exercise classes, sports activities and support groups are allowed groups of more than six.  However, organisers must undertake a risk assessment and take steps to protect themselves, their staff and participants with measures such as enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures, ensuring the appropriate use of face coverings and measures which support social distancing.

People participating in group activities are also being discouraged from mingling with each other once the activity has finished and avoid car sharing where possible, in an effort to limit the number of social interactions.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team has commissioned young ambassadors with North Yorkshire Youth – a charity supporting voluntary youth provision across the county - to go out to talk to young people on the streets about staying safe and how to observe the restrictions in place. They will also be handing out free face masks.

Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, said: “It is clear from the latest data that the most difficult area for us to tackle the spread of infection is within households and their social interactions, as that is where the majority of the spread of the virus can be pinpointed.

“The collective effort of people in North Yorkshire has already meant that previously surging infection rates have stabilised and outbreaks are being managed. This is excellent work, but we are not out of the woods yet unfortunately and it will require people to remain mindful over the coming months and observe the Tier 1 rules on social distancing, hand washing, face masks and the number of people they socialise with.”

People are reminded to follow the “Hands. Face. Space” advice and;

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Wear a face covering indoors where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre where extra precautions are in place such as indoor ventilation.
  • When seeing friends and family you do not live with, or who are not part of your support bubble, do not meet in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors.
  • When meeting friends and family you should also follow social distancing rules, meet people outdoors where practical and limit how many different people in total you see socially over a short period of time.

For a full list of the Tier 1 restrictions in place in North Yorkshire, outside York, visit the Government website.

Dr Charles Parker, the Clinical Chair of NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added: “It’s imperative we all play our part to get on top of this virus and bring down the rate of transmission, through regular hand-washing, wearing face coverings and social distancing.

“At the same time, people can also support the NHS by choosing the right care at the right time. If you are unwell, don’t ignore your symptoms and put off seeking medical advice.

“The NHS App and NHS 111 Online are excellent tools to help you get the support you need. If you are not online or just not sure, call 111.

“If you are asked to visit hospital or your GP surgery in person – in circumstances where it’s not possible or appropriate for a virtual or telephone appointment – please do all you can to keep that appointment. And if you have a minor, short-term illness, consider visiting your local pharmacy for advice and treatment.

“Only use A&E when it’s an emergency.”