With the weekend approaching, North Yorkshire’s first responder agencies are calling on members of the public around the county to go home safely after pubs and restaurants close at 10pm.
In order to avoid a repetition of scenes last weekend in York, when crowds gathered in the city centre streets after the 10pm curfew and pubs closed their doors, the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum is asking people throughout North Yorkshire to enjoy their night out and support the night time economy, but make plans for getting home safely and stick to their plan.
The NYLRF, which includes the emergency services, local authorities and the NHS, is responsible for leading the fight against the pandemic here.
Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid-19, and the chair of the North Yorkshire Strategic Coordination Group, said: “I am sure that people enjoying the freedom to go out and about in North Yorkshire this weekend do not want to see the enforced interventions being seen in many other northern areas being imposed on the county.
“We must all do what we can to stem the tide of infection and this means that people wanting to enjoy a night out in the pub or restaurant take all the necessary steps to make sure they can get home safely and quickly.
“We’ve been working very closely with our partners across the region to make sure all the relevant steps to slow the spread of this virus have been taken, to make the City of York and North Yorkshire as a whole as safe as possible to visit.
“However, it’s not just down to police, partners, business owners and licensees to stop the spread of this deadly virus, it’s also down to the public to make the right decisions and abide by the regulations.
“We have been living with Covid-19 for some time now and we all know the devastating impact it could have on our loved-ones, families, businesses and our NHS. We also know what we have to do to halt the spread – think hands, face, space, wear a face covering and try to limit contact as much as possible.
“North Yorkshire Police will continue to do everything within our power to keep the people of North Yorkshire safe. We know the majority of the public will join us and follow the rules. Those who do not, and who put the vulnerable among us at risk, should fully expect police to take action against them.
“So my advice to anyone who is thinking of enjoying a night out this weekend is to follow the regulations, otherwise your night could suddenly become a very expensive one."
Richard Flinton, chair of the NYLRF, says the county is at a tipping point and it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to play our part and follow distancing guidelines so we can continue going about our lives and supporting the local economy.
As most infection can be linked to household and social contact Richard Flinton called on residents across the age range to pull together. He said: “Rather than wait for Government intervention and the imposition of more serious lockdown measures being faced by people in many parts of the north of England, we are appealing to people to take the necessary precautions now.
“We must not risk everything we have achieved in North Yorkshire by letting our guard down. Social distancing and hand washing remain the best defences against Covid – with face coverings where required. So enjoy a night out, support our local hospitality businesses which have done so much to make their premises Covid-secure, but stick to social distancing regulations and the rule of six to help keep everybody safe.”
Sharon Stoltz, director of public health at City of York Council, said: “Gathering in large groups close to each other gives the virus the chance to spread and increases the risk for us all. We want people to enjoy themselves in our fantastic city while looking after each other. The best way to do that is to remember ‘Hands, Face, Space’ and to:
- Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds or more with soap and water
- Keep 2m apart from people outside your household and don’t gather in groups of more than six
- Wear a face covering in busy public spaces
- Self-isolate if you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a continuous dry cough and a loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell) or if contacted by test and trace as a contact of someone who has Coronavirus. If you have symptoms please ask for a test online or by calling 119.”