Hospitality, leisure and tourism industries and their customers are urged to pull out all the stops and continue to play their part by following the latest Covid-19 guidance and regulations to keep people safe and avoid more serious lockdown measures.
With the Covid-infection rate continuing to rise rapidly across the county, the partnership fighting the impact of the virus here is calling on the sector and all those who use it to adopt the regulations fully and create Covid-safe environments in order to help to contain the virus.
Leaders of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF) acknowledge the huge amount of work cafes, restaurants, pubs, leisure centres, hairdressers and salons all over the county have undertaken during summer months to make their premises and businesses Covid secure and open up the economy.
But they are now urging the sector to make a further effort to follow the Government’s new and more stringent regulations. NYLRF Chair, Richard Flinton, said: “We know these new regulations are yet another hill to climb, but if we are to have any chance of keeping the infection rate down and keeping our local economy going we all need to play our part and take on this responsibility.
“We wish to thank those traders who’ve done a great job in serving the community during the first lockdown and have adapted to be Covid-secure as lockdown has eased and changed. But with a resurgence of the pandemic we must all pull together.
“We are doing everything it is possible for us to do to keep the county’s residents, communities and businesses out of more serious lockdown measures and we are asking everyone to help, so the way we go about our daily lives will not be impacted further.
“All our partners have worked closely with residents and businesses during lockdown and I am confident we can pull together once more.”
New regulations require hospitality traders such as bars and cafes and personal contact businesses such as hairdressers and nail bars, dress fitters and tailors to undertake the following:
- display a QR code that can be scanned by customers or visitors who wish to use the NHS covid-19 app.
- collect name and contact details of their customers or visitors, including the details of every member of a group unless all have used the QR code;
- retain details for 21 days and, if necessary, share with NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to enable them to contact people who may have been exposed to the virus;
- refuse entry to premises if individuals refuse to provide their details;
- hospitality venues must abide by the 10pm curfew
- from September 28th people can be served food and drink only if they are, and remain seated, at their table;
- hospitality businesses must ensure they do not take bookings from, or seat, groups of more than six people. They are also required to maintain an appropriate distance between tables and ensure different groups do not mingle;
- although these requirements have been contained in government guidance for some time, businesses which do not comply may now be fined between £1,000 and £4,000, and could face prosecution or the closure of their venue for repeated failures;
- people working in hospitality, personal contact businesses and leisure venues must now wear facemasks, as must customers when they are moving around a venue away from their table.
People visiting pubs, restaurants and cafes must abide by the rule of six regulation and follow the hands, face and space campaign - continue to wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, use face masks where required and keep a two metre social distance from those not in their own household.
The NYLRF is also asking people in North Yorkshire to take the extra step of using facemasks outdoors when they are in crowded streets and places.
Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “We have seen a step change in the number of Covid-19 cases across the county. At the end of July we were just seeing one or two. In the last two weeks there have been 388 new cases and this figure is growing all the time.
“We do recognise how difficult trading conditions have been and remain and we want North Yorkshire to remain open for business and indeed the majority of our hospitality businesses have made great efforts to make their premises Covid secure. But now they must go further and we are urging them to take the new regulations on board so they have a chance of staying open and carrying on “To those visiting pubs and restaurants we say act responsibly, be careful, be kind and support your local business to stay open. Use the NHS covid-19 app or provide your contact details and follow the rule of six.
North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards officers will work in partnership with district council environmental health officers in offering support and guidance to businesses and in responding to complaints about premises that are breaking regulations.
North Yorkshire Police will support the hospitality trade and ensure that crowds do not gather outside premises and that customers observe the rule of six in outdoor spaces as they must do inside premises.
Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid19, and the chair of the North Yorkshire Strategic Coordination Group, said:
“It’s very clear that we are at a turning point now, where everyone’s personal choices will have a significant effect upon the rate at which this virus spreads over the coming weeks. We’ve heard from both our national and local leaders and health officials that cases of Covid-19 are rising at an increasing rate and that the responsibility to turn the tide on this virus lies with each and every one of us.
“We know that message has reached the vast majority of the public who will follow the rules and step up to play their part. Through engagement and encouragement, we will continue to support and assist those who are taking the necessary steps to suppress the spread.
“However, we know there is a minority of people who are choosing to ignore the stark facts and making decisions which put lives at risk. Very sadly, it does not take many people making poor decisions to undo all the good work and sacrifice the public of North Yorkshire has put in to defeat this virus. My message to those people is this; take heed of the warning and do not breach the regulations. If you choose to not follow the law, you should fully expect police to take enforcement action against you.
“Over the weekend we will be stepping up patrols in high risk areas and will be proactively engaging with business owners and licenced premises to ensure the rules are being followed.
“If members of the public are concerned that regulations are being breached they should report this to us in the first instance via our online reporting form (or via the non-emergency number 101) and we will take appropriate action. Please ensure that you only dial 999 in the case of an emergency.”