Pubs, restaurants and hotels welcomed people indoors on Monday, as the country took the next step in the lockdown easing map. This came after months of closure for local businesses who have struggled throughout the pandemic.
York is well known and proud to be the home of hundreds of historic pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues that provide thousands of jobs in the city. On what was a day of celebration in York’s hospitality sector as it fully reopened, York Central’s MP caused some anger claiming that the hospitality reopening will see an increase of cases of the virus in the city. In response to these comments, Executive Member for Economy Councillor Waller has taken the opportunity to set out what is being done to protect residents and visitors and support local businesses.
Councillor Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“Local hospitality businesses have worked incredibly hard to make their facilities safe for staff and customers alike and have been of significant help in our local fight against the virus.
“Last winter’s spike in cases is believed to mostly have related to household contacts. Whilst we must remain extremely vigilant and responsible as restrictions are eased, local businesses need our support now more than ever.
“There is clearly also more that the Government must do, starting with fixing the self-isolation programme and extension of financial support to the hospitality industry.
“With major support schemes set to be withdrawn in the coming months, businesses need fair and proportionate support in order to make sure they can survive until trading conditions can return to normal. Businesses and staff, particularly those in the hospitality sector, need to receive a meaningful package of support that truly reflects the financial hit that the industry is facing.”
Work carried out by the Council’s Public Health team to support business reopening include:
• Work to support businesses to be covid secure – including advice and Covid Marshalls.
• Opening of a city centre testing facility aimed at visitors to York to get themselves tested to ensure they are not unknowingly spreading the virus.
• Targeted engagement with the 20-40 unvaccinated age groups to ensure as many people as possible are doing regular testing. This is being done via our existing test centres, door drops and handing out tests in public areas.
• Ongoing work with the CCG and Nimbuscare to ensure that those that are offered the vaccine take up the offer, improving access to the vaccine, particularly in the younger and student populations.
• The city’s contact tracing team are contacting those that have not taken up the offer to have a vaccine to explore why, and see if there is anything that we can do to support them to have the vaccine.