York leaders have been answering people’s questions about the new Tier 2 restrictions – which come into force from first thing on Saturday morning.
How long will York be in Tier 2?
Sharon Stoltz, York’s director of public health, says Government determines what tier councils go in to and when they will come out of those restrictions.
She said Government will look at factors including the number of cases, the positivity rate, the impact on the local NHS, the number of outbreaks and how effectively outbreaks are managed.
The measures are set to be reviewed in 14 days.
How confident are you that the Tier 2 restrictions will work?
“Our confidence will come from the extent to which, across the city, we see a set of behaviours that is consistent with good practice,” Phil Mettam from York NHS CCG said.
“It very much comes down to our own individual responsibility.”
Ms Stoltz added: “The Tier 2 restrictions on their own will not be sufficient to stop us moving into Tier 3, which is obviously something that none of us want to see happen.”
She said an effective test and trace system is important and added that people need to follow self-isolation guidelines if they are contacted by test and trace or are waiting for a test result.
Is it still difficult to book a Covid test?
“It is getting better almost daily,” Mr Mettam said.
He said there are more tests available. People are urged to keep trying to book a test if they are struggling.
Should I get a test if I have no symptoms but I have been in contact with someone who has tested positive?
People should only request a test if they have symptoms of Covid.
Does Spark York count as an outdoor venue?
The seating at each individual unit counts as an indoor venue – where no households can mix under Tier 2 – Andrew Lowson from York BID said.
But the area under the canopy counts as an outdoor area, he said, because the sides are open and there is an airflow. This means groups of up to 6 people can meet in the main area under the canopy.
What extra support is available for businesses in Tier 2?
”There’s a lot of concern about what this means for businesses,” Mr Lowson said.
“I think businesses are very keen to see bodies like the council lobby government for support for businesses in Tier 2.
“Businesses in Tier 3 are able to get access to a furlough scheme and some grants that are not there in Tier 2.
“We are not going to be getting the numbers of visitors we would normally get – we used to get a lot of visitors from Tier 3 areas and they should not be travelling to other parts of the country now.”
He said more outdoor space is needed for businesses to trade in.
How are businesses preparing to ensure Christmas will be safe to both retailers and shoppers?
A lot of work has gone into making shops and business areas Covid safe, Cllr Andrew Waller said.
“Retailers are conscious that Christmas is crucial,” he added.
New technology has also shown that 70 per cent of visitors to York were from local areas last week, Mr Lowson added.
Can York Hospital cope with an increase in cases?
Patients are to get a coronavirus test before they have a planned procedure at the hospital, Mr Mettam said.
He said admissions are increasing but the NHS now understands the virus better and the hospital is more prepared.
He said the supply of PPE is also much better.
Can I travel to York? Can I travel outside of York?
There are no specific travel restrictions around travel to York.
People need to travel in a Covid-safe way.
But under Tier 2 people are not able to visit York to stay with friends or family because households are not allowed to mix.
People are permitted to stay in hotels and guesthouses, but must stay with their own household.
Residents are advised to minimise their journeys, but are permitted to travel to areas outside York.
Why is my child allowed to mix with other children at school but not allowed to go to someone else’s house?
Schools are classed as Covid-secure settings and use test and trace to control outbreaks, Ms Stoltz said.
But she said she understands parents’ frustrations: “It seems counter intuitive to not have children mix outside school but that they can mix in school.”
Can tradespeople – including mobile hairdressers, builders, plumbers and other traders – come into people’s homes?
Yes. They should already be following covid compliant guidance, Cllr Waller said.
He said it is permitted under Tier 2.
Why didn’t York go into Tier 2 earlier?
Ms Stoltz said: “The short answer is I don’t know.”
She said the Government has changed the system – and that at first York was included with the North Yorkshire area in Tier 1 restrictions.
Can I move house? Can I advertise for a lodger?
Yes. Cllr Waller said: “There’s nothing that prevents people from moving house.”
He said rooms can still be rented out to lodgers – but the person will then become part of the household.
For more information visit york.gov.uk/coronavirus.