As it happened – York reopens after lockdown

Monday, 12 April 2021

Our updates as York and North Yorkshire reopened after lockdown

Key updates

‘We have been busy, but not overwhelmed’ – the story in Selby

In Selby, Tony Gilpin, owner of the Rooms For All furniture store on Micklegate, said the reopening had gone as well as he could have hoped for.

“We have been busy, but not been overwhelmed,” he said. That meant everyone was able to social distance and keep Covid safe.

And customers were making purchases.

“People aren’t window shopping,” he added. “They’re coming in because they want something specifically.”

Rooms For All in Selby

Vangarde Shopping Park welcomes back customers – and reveals new opening hours and dates

Vangarde Shopping Park has enjoyed brisk trading on the first day after fully reopening.

Deborah O’Donnell, Vangarde’s manager, said: “We are so excited to welcome everyone back. The team has been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that customers feel confident coming to Vangarde, and we look forward to seeing you all here soon.”

Of course one major store didn’t reopen – John Lewis announced last month that its Vangarde store had closed permanently.

Some of the shopping park’s cafés have already opened and others have today revealed their opening dates.

See below for individual store opening times, although “please check direct with the store in advance, as some of these may be subject to change”, said the team.

Marks & Spencer:

  • Monday to Saturday 8am – 8pm
  • Sunday 11am – 5pm

Click & Collect available too

Customer toilets are available

M&S Cafe will be doing coffee to go, toasties and bacon sandwiches Mon-Sat 10.00-15.00 and Sunday 11.00-16.00

M&S Opticians:

  • Monday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Tuesday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Wednesday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Thursday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Friday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Saturday: 10:00 – 16:00
  • Sunday: Closed


  • Monday to Friday 9am – 8.30pm
  • Saturday 9am – 7.30pm
  • Sunday 10.30am – 5pm

 Toilets are available for customer use

Click & Collect available

Laura Ashley Homeware now available to order in store

Virgin Holidays (inside NEXT) is due to now reopen on 26th April 2021:

  • Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm
  • Sunday 11 – 5pm  (TBC still)


Takeaways / collections and external seating area available from 12th

  • Monday to Sunday 11.30am – 9.30pm

Toilets are available for customer use

Prezzo –

Takeaways available from 8th April and then ‘Al Fresco Dining’ available from 12th) –

  • Thursday 8th     5pm – 9pm
  • Friday 9th           4pm – 9pm
  • Saturday 10th   12pm – 9pm
  • Sunday 11th      12pm – 9pm

 Opening times for ‘Al Fresco Dining’ from Monday 12th:

  • Monday to Thursday 12pm – 9pm
  • Friday to Saturday 11.30am – 9.30pm
  • Sunday 11.30am – 9pm

Toilets are available for customer use

Deliveries are available via Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo and collection in person


  • Monday to Thursday 10am – 8pm
  • Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm
  • Sunday 11am – 5pm


  • Monday to Saturday 8am – 5pm
  • Sunday 9am – 5pm

Toilets are available for customer use


  • Monday to Saturday 8.30am – 6pm
  • Sunday 9.30pm – 5pm

The Confessional – opening Thursday 15th April

Café Nero:

  • Monday to Saturday 9am – 6pm
  • Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm

Estabulo – reopening 17 May

Cars at Vangarde today

Watch: York Town Crier declares Shambles Market open

Here’s York Town Crier Ben Fry announcing the good news in Shambles Market today:

York is busy in the spring sunshine – and retailers are ‘very confident’

The city is bustling this afternoon, with shoppers out in force.

“It’s amazing to see the city come to life again,” said Phil Pinder, chairman of York Retail Forum.

He said shops had put Covid-safe measures in place, and customers were exercising caution.

Nevertheless, retailers “were very confident about the first week”.

You can read our full story – and see more pictures – here.

Pavement cafés were busy on Parliament Street. Photograph: YorkMix

York looking good in the sunshine…

Some more pix from York city centre today, from Richard McDougall…

Charity shops are reopening too – and they’d love your support

Charity shops are a vital source of funds for some very good causes – and they have reopened today.

Among those flinging open their doors again in York today are the St Leonard’s Hospice shop on Colliergate, and the Oxfam bookshop on Low Petergate.

They would love to see you and get your support.

The St Leonard's Hospice shop reopens. Photograph: St Leonard's Hospice on Twitter

‘We have been ridiculously busy’: York Gin reopens shop – and supplies lots of outdoor bars and restaurants

Chin chin! York Gin’s Jo Hird in front of the Covid-safe Puss & Mew sampling machine with Susannah Baines serving

York Gin is not only reopening its Pavement shop today – it’s also supplying lots of new outdoor bar and restaurant areas in the city.

“It has been ridiculously busy,” co-founder Emma Godivala told YorkMix Radio.

“We’ve got lots of exciting places where you can go and have a have a G&T or something else today in the sunshine.

“So please go out and support our fantastic local and independent places.”

Among the places you can get your York Gin today are Middletons Hotel, Gray’s Court, Pairings, Kennedys, the new Sophie’s Bar on Lendal Bridge, the Minster Inn, the Marcia in Bishopthorpe.

In the shop, York Gin has reinstated it’s puss’n’mew machine, where you can sample the drinks in a Covid-safe way. Read more about that here.

North Yorkshire Police highlight new campaign against terrorism as restrictions lift

Police in North Yorkshire have urged people to be vigilant against the threat of terrorism as the restrictions ease.

Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) has launched a new vigilance campaign to coincide with the easing of Covid-19 lockdown.

And it is backed by our own force.

Detective Inspector Dave Edwards, from North Yorkshire Police’s Prevent Team, said: “Following a year of restrictions impacting all our lives, we recognise people will be keen to get out and about as the lockdown restrictions ease, and the importance of businesses being able to return to more regular trading patterns.

“Let’s enjoy these regained freedoms but please do so in a way that helps keep us safe, not just from Covid-19 but from terrorism as well.

“The terrorist threat will, understandably, not have been high on anyone’s mind in recent months. It is also fair to say that the threat was temporarily suppressed during lockdown because it was difficult to go out in public and do anything.

“The best defence against the terrorist threat is a collective community effort – where police, security staff, businesses and the public come together to minimise the chance of attack.

“That is why Counter Terrorism Policing has launched this campaign, and North Yorkshire Police and our partners are very happy to give our full support.”

Learn more here.

Chicken kebabs and home-made chips – one of the street food options coming to Parliament Street

Street food is being served on Parliament Street now the city is reopening.

Among those traders dishing up tasty treats is Simon Long of Shambles Kitchen.

“You normally see it at Christmas, when we’re doing Thor’s – but the council are providing a lot of seating on Parliament Street.

“There’s going to be four of us local businesses doing some food out here to help feed everyone, and to make sure there’s plenty of socially distanced socialising going on.

“We will be doing kebabs. It’s a long time since we’ve done that, we’re really excited about it. We grill the chicken on charcoal, served in salads with home-made chips.”

Because Shambles Kitchen is more about takeaway and street food, it has “been really busy” in lockdown, Simon said.

“It’s not hit us anywhere near as hard as it has restaurants. So personally, I’m going to be booking myself into as many restaurants as possible to help help those guys out.”

Simon Long, Shambles Kitchen. Photograph: David Dunning

Queues at shoe shops, and bars prepare their outdoor spaces – 13 pictures of York city centre reopening

York is open!

That’s the message today as activity not seen in the city centre for weeks has returned.

Non-essential traders are back on Shambles Market. There were queues outside barber shops – including Axis on New Street, and the Mediterranean on Goodramgate.

There was also a queue outside Size?, the shoe shop on Parliament Street.

The #loveYork tipi on Parliament Street is built and nearly ready to take customers, and street food stalls are readying to open there too.

There are plenty of freshly-cleaned windows too, from Kennedy’s bar to TK Maxx on Coney Street.

Here’s a few pix this morning from YorkMix‘s Richard McDougall.

Queuing outside Size? Photographs: Richard McDougall

People queue for five hours for the York Ghost Merchants reopening

A spooky wait on Shambles. Photograph: YorkMix

People have been queuing since 5am for the reopening of York Ghost Merchants on Shambles.

And it doesn’t open its doors until 10am!

People have travelled from Wiltshire and Grimsby to visit and pick up a special limited release ghost

One of the shoppers, Kelda, told YorkMix: “They’ve really helped me during lockdown – it’s like trauma recovery as well.”

Full story here.

York’s newest leisure centre reopens – for only its second week

The swimming pool at the York stadium leisure complex. Photograph: Jack Titley

York’s gyms, pools and leisure centres reopen today.

And the newest of these, York Leisure Centre, part of York Stadium Community Leisure Complex will be welcoming back keen gym goers and swimmers from 7am.

The state-of-the-art facility had only been open for one week, before lockdown on 4 January forced four months of closure.

However, demand from customers keen to return to the gym and pool has been phenomenal, with first day slots booked out in minutes when bookings opened earlier this week.

Here’s where new outdoor seating is planned for the city centre

Councillor Andrew Waller sasaysid 80 pavement cafe licences have already been granted and seating areas will open in Parliament Street and College Green.

From April 16, York BID will install a further 60 benches in areas including College Green, Exhibition Square, Lunds Court, Library Square and Lawn, Duncombe Place, Esplanade, The Coppergate Centre, New Street, City Screen Riverside and Waterstones.

The pedestrian zone hours will also be extended, from 10.30am to 8pm.

Cllr Waller said it is crucial that residents feel they can visit the city centre safely, adding that Covid marshals and other enforcement officers will be monitoring the arrangements.

“There have been a lot of efforts to reopen the city and that has required a lot of work,” he said.

“Once the government relaxes the travel restrictions, people will come to York. We recognise how quickly the footfall increased last summer and we are conscious that we need to be ready for that.

“We need to retain the confidence of residents. Some will be a bit reserved about coming back to the city centre.

“It’s about getting the balance right.”

Decorators paint Berry's jewellers on Stonegate ahead of the reopening. Photograph: Richard McDougall

‘There are a lot of things that are different to last time we opened York up’

Things have changed in York since the last time the city was allowed out of lockdown, says Sharon Stoltz, director of public health.

“The vaccine programme is going really well,” she said. “People who have had already had Covid will have a degree of natural immunity. We are also starting from a low case level. Our rates are really low. We also have more testing facilities.

“If people get into the habit of taking a Covid test, that would be a huge help for us because it would give us an early indication if cases rise.”

Ms Stoltz encouraged people to enjoy themselves but “use common sense and don’t go crazy,” adding that we should not be hugging friends and family outside our households yet.

The tipi being put together on Parliament Street, York. Photograph: David Dunning

Here’s what changes from today

Welcome to our live blog about York and North Yorkshire easing out of lockdown.

Today many restrictions are lifted in England. Here’s a summary.

What is changing?
From April 12 non-essential shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and community centres and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen across England.

Most outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks can reopen, although wider social distancing rules will still apply to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools will also be opened, but for use by people on their own or in household groups.

Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, but these must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.

Are any other restrictions easing?
Care home residents will also be allowed a second regular indoor visitor with infants and children not counted as one of the two – meaning care home residents in England will be allowed to see small bubbles of loved ones for the first time in months.

Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise from six to 15.

Parent and child groups of up to 15 people, not counting children aged under five years old, can restart indoors.

Will some restrictions remain in place?
Unfortunately there are still a fair number of restrictions in England, most notably that people are still not allowed to socialise indoors outside their households or support bubbles.

Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households and people should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can.

International holidays are still illegal.

When will more restrictions be eased?
According to the Government’s road map, from no earlier than May 17, most social contact rules outside will be lifted – although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply – although the Government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.

Limited crowds will also be allowed at sporting events and larger performances.

All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.