With the publication of the roadmap to recovery, the City of York Council has started planning to safely reopen the city.

In doing this, the Council will focus on prioritising the health and wellbeing of the residents of York, and supporting the economic recovery of the city.

Public Health guidance will play a key role in all decisions made for the future of the city and the council focus is on protecting residents against the immediate threat of coronavirus.

Learning from reopening activities that took place during summer 2020, when the city enjoyed a large number of visitors and relatively low number of cases, together with recognising challenges from Christmas and that reopening in 2021 is taking place in a different environment, where testing and vaccinations is more the norm.

Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council, said:

We are working with businesses and organisations across the city to make sure that when the time comes, residents have the confidence to enjoy our city centre safely.

The health and wellbeing of residents and businesses is our immediate focus, and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to our beautiful city once restrictions are lifted. We know that York has a lot to offer, and our amazing range of independent businesses are working hard to ensure that their customers can look forward to safe services at their next visit.”

Extra measures introduced in the city will include:

  • The installation of temporary public toilets in the city centre
  • Extending the Covid Support Marshalls programme until the end of June
  • Submitting planning applications required for temporary managed outdoor spaces

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, said:

Whilst many people will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. 

“We want to make sure that York is a safe city for all our residents to enjoy, and we need the support of residents and communities to make that happen. We are working closely with the Public Health England Behavioural science team to iteratively improve how we can keep residents, staff and visitors safe. 

"For now we must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’, comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place, meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. We should get tested when needed and get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.”

To help businesses safely manage outside space and better understand how to keep their consumers and staff safe by prompting COVID-19 safe behaviours, the council are working with Public Health England’s behavioural insight team in the run up to reopening the city. They will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday 25 March, where the Public Health team will answer questions from businesses. Tickets can be booked online.