A Welcome to York banner has appeared on Lendal Bridge – and it has led some residents to ask if the city council should be encouraging visitors given the circumstances.
Executive Member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, Cllr Denise Craghill, replied: “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve worked with businesses across the city to ensure they can welcome residents and visitors from other Tier 2 areas in a responsible and Covid-secure way.
“Our Let’s Be York campaign supports the local business community with measures to help safe trading in public places and reminds residents and visitors to put York’s values into action and be safe and considerate to each other.
“People from higher tiers should shop locally and delay their visit to York until national guidance to limit all travel wherever possible allows.
“Working with the York BID, we are supporting the police with their enforcement action against people who inappropriately mix households, in breach of the Coronavirus regulations, where all involved may face a £200 fine.”
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves says if people flout the rules then the police ‘have got to take action’ but fines should be a last resort.
A real dilemma
Phil Pinder from York Retail Forum told us: “It’s a real dilemma for traders in the city.
“One the one hand we want to see Covid stopped in its tracks and that’s why all retail outlets are operating to the highest covid-secure standards.
“On the other hand you must remember there are shops in York that are not available elsewhere. For example the M&S in Hull doesn’t sell clothing any more and we have many unique independents here too.
“You have many people on the edges of Tier 3 that actually regard York as their main city, so do we really want to deny access to someone in Wetherby or Stamford Bridge.
“I would not want to see travel guidance changed to law but equally I do not want to see large groups of people from Hull or Leeds coming here to get drunk.”