Liberal Democrat councillors have addressed resident concerns about taxi drivers from areas with higher infection rates working in York, as the city continues to work together to ensure coronavirus infection rates remain low.
Following concerns raised by residents after the first regional restrictions were put in place earlier in August, Cllr Ashley Mason, the Chairperson of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, wrote to the Home Office to ask for clarification on local authority responsibility in regards to taxi drivers from restricted regions working outside their licenced areas.
Responding to the letter, a Home Office spokesperson laid out the current Government guidance, which permits people living inside and outside of the affected areas to travel in and out for work, with workplaces implementing COVID-19 secure guidance. Taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings, with customers in private hire vehicles and taxis required to wear face coverings.
Cllr Ashely Mason, the Chairperson of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, commented:
“It is thanks to the hard work of local businesses and residents that we have ensured the public health risk in the city remains low. We continue to work with businesses, public health experts and other stakeholders to ensure that residents and visitors can enjoy the city safely.
“Whilst we appreciate and understand resident concerns regarding taxi drivers coming to work in our city from areas currently under stricter public health measures, it is for the Government to implement any further guidance which would discourage this. This is why I previously wrote to the Home Secretary to ask for this to be examined as the case numbers rose across impacted areas.
“Local taxi operators in York have been requested to put infection control measures in place, including the installation of protective screens between the driver and passengers and the requirement for passengers and drivers to use face coverings and hand sanitizer.
“We continue to work with the Police, Public Health and Public Protection teams in the city to ensure that all taxi and private hire vehicle operators adhere to enhanced public health measures. We also will continue to make the case for local authorities to be given more powers to ensure that the progress that has been made through our collective effort is maintained.”