Public support for Covid-19 safety calls in North Yorkshire applauded

This story was published 18 May 2020

With only a handful of isolated issues reported over the weekend, the agencies responsible for keeping North Yorkshire and its residents safe are thanking everyone who did the right thing over the weekend.

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Following widespread calls for people to wait until the county’s attractions and businesses reopen before visiting, the vast majority of people avoided the rural and coastal visitor hot spots. While highways crews and police reported there was an increase in vehicles in areas like the national parks and more walkers and cyclists exploring the countryside, the big picture was much less concerning than had been feared.

Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, said: “The vast majority of people did the right thing and avoided potentially busy areas. We applaud everyone for that collective effort.

“There were measures in place in some key locations to minimise parking and better facilitate social distancing and these seem to have been largely welcome. Compliance with the public health advice to stay at least 2 metres apart was broadly very good and we are grateful for the public’s continued support.  As we head towards a warm Bank Holiday weekend – everyone’s buy-in remains critical to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and save lives.

“Please continue to protect yourselves and your families by avoiding crowds and washing your hands regularly. It’s understandable that some communities are anxious about visitors so thank you for being thoughtful and considerate to the people living where you want to explore.

“Everything will still be here in a few weeks’ time and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our beauty spots and the whole of North Yorkshire when it’s safe to do so and our shops, cafés and restaurants are open again.”

Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, said:

“Thank you to all ‘would be’ visitors who stayed close to home and chose not to visit our coastal towns and villages at the weekend. We really appreciate the sensible approach the majority of people have taken.

“Our toilets and car parks remain closed and, in line with government guidance, many local businesses are not open yet. With the weather expected to warm up again this week, I ask people to continue to play their part in helping to control the spread of coronavirus by only coming back to visit us when we are ready to welcome you properly. That time will come, but we’re not there yet.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham, silver commander for the response to Covid-19, added: “Our officers issued 24 fines over the weekend between Friday and Sunday. Despite being called to over 300 incidents where members of the public reported suspected breaches, on arrival, officers found that on the whole, people were observing the guidelines and regulations.

“There have been pockets where we have had to engage, explain and encourage people to stick to the rules, but we have only used enforcement as a last resort.” 

The agencies involved in leading the respond to the Covid-19 outbreak in North Yorkshire are continuing to monitor visitor levels and to plan for further action if that’s required as the Bank Holiday weekend approaches.