That’s the clear message being issued to everyone intending to go out and about in North Yorkshire anywhere over the bank holiday weekend.
It’s expected the late May holiday weekend will see more people heading for open spaces and countryside to explore and take their exercise. So the agencies leading the fight against Covid-19 in the York and North Yorkshire area are asking everyone to think carefully and plan ahead.
Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), said: “There are still limited facilities so clearly hand washing may be limited – equally some places will be busier than others, making social distancing difficult. Together these actions remain some of the most powerful defences we have against this virus. So think ahead to limit the spread!
“If you turn up somewhere and it’s clearly busy, don’t risk it. Have a plan B and even a plan C to ensure you keep away from crowds and protect yourself and your loved ones.”
Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health in North Yorkshire, said: “Hundreds of lives have been lost linked to Covid-19 in our area and there is some data that suggests the virus is declining more slowly in some areas than others. That also reflects the national trend – where peaks and plateaus appear at different rates across different counties or urban areas.
“Overall there is a gradual decline in the number of people in hospital in the area but it would be wrong for anyone to think we are out of the woods. Far from it. If ever there was a moment to take every precaution, it’s now.”
Gold Commander for NYLRF, Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, said: “While we can all spend more time outdoors, taking personal responsibility remains key to stopping the spread of the virus. It has not gone away and it is important that everyone keeps in mind the purpose of the current guidelines and regulations and the national effort to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.
“If you plan on visiting North Yorkshire this weekend, please respect our local communities who are concerned about large numbers of people gathering near their homes, particularly in small towns and villages where space is limited and streets are narrow.
“Enjoy the weekend and stay safe. Our officers will be out and about and will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules and will only use enforcement as a last resort. We have already issued 994 fines, please don’t give us any reason to add this growing number.”
Last weekend was the first weekend to follow the easing of lockdown rules, enabling essential travel to include driving further for unlimited exercise and wellbeing purposes. In response, North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department put some temporary mitigation in place to try to limit crowds and support social distancing guidance.
Barrie Mason is the council’s Assistant Director for Highways and Transportation: “We have been working with our colleagues at Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire Police this week in preparation for the possibility of more visitors arriving in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey over the holiday weekend as well as other destinations along the coast.
“As a result, we will again be closing Foreshore Road, Royal Albert Drive and Marine Drive in Scarborough and there will be several parking suspensions across the Borough to try to enable social distancing. There will also be cones in places across Harrogate and Knaresborough. We would ask that drivers respect the closures and suspensions, which are in place for everyone’s safety.”