Council’s message to businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors
The council has sought to reassure those who own business in the retail, hospitality or leisure with this message:
- if you pay your business rates by Direct Debit, we will stop your Direct Debit before the 1st April
- if you pay by cash, don’t pay
- if you pay by standing order – please cancel it
- if we take a payment from you and you think you are an exempt business – contact us and we’ll pay you back straight away if we have made a mistake.
Ian Floyd of City of York Council said the city’s leisure and hospitality sector “are a key part of what makes the city such a special place to live, visit and work”, adding:
We welcome today’s Chancellor’s announcement that will protect 80% wages across the city.
We hope that this goes some way to alleviate the anxiety of residents about their employment.
We are now working to make sure all our businesses can access support from both the council and the Government and will be announcing more information about our emergency fund for residents, businesses and communities early next week so people can get the help they need as quickly as possible.
York now has six confirmed cases of coronavirus
The latest official figures show that York has six confirmed cases of coronavirus.
That is one more case than the day before.
Published last night (Friday, 20 March) the figures also show 14 confirmed cases in North Yorkshire, one more than the day before.
Here’s a full list of the venues that must close tonight
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has provided a definite list of places that are to close.
- Food & drink venues
- Pubs, bars and clubs
- Cinemas, theatres, concert and bingo halls
- Spas, indoor leisure and gyms
- Casinos & betting shops
- Museums & galleries
Chancellor creates scheme to cover 80% of employees’ salaries
The Chancellor has announced that the Government will pick up “most of” the wages of workers.
Rishi Sunak said: “I have a responsibility to make sure that we protect, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes.
“Today I can announce that in the first time of our history, the Government is going to step in and help pay people’s wages.
Our full story is below.
Boris Johnson: Cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants must close tonight
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, among other venues, to close tonight in a strengthening of measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres also must shut tonight.
The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice,” he told the daily Covid-19 press conference.
And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday.
We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.
And so following agreement with all the … devolved administrations, we are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow.
Though, to be clear, they can continue to provide take out services.
“The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice,” he told the daily Covid-19 press conference.
Historic hotel and spa in York closes until further notice
One of York’s plushest hotels has announced it is closing for the duration.
Middlethorpe Hall Hotel & Spa will close on Sunday (22 March) at 6pm.
In a message to guests posted on social media, the team at the National Trust-owned hotel said:
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Middlethorpe Hall Hotel & Spa until further notice from 18.00 on Sunday 22nd March.
We have made this decision as part of the national fight against the COVID 19 pandemic, in line with advice from British Government, the World Health Organisation, the policy of the National Trust and our Historic House Hotels partners. The safety of our visitors and staff is our main priority.
During the period of closure we shall keep in touch with our guests, and, of course, we really look forward to reopening and welcoming you back.
We greatly value the loyalty and support of our guests, so many of long-standing, during this unprecedented time.
The unexpired period of member subscriptions for the Spa will be frozen until it reopens.
York IT firm offers free telecoms support for firms whose staff are working from home
Another great offer of help from a York business person.
Richard Foleher, from telecommunications business Everything Voice, is based at Clifton Moor. He got in touch to say:
In light of the PM’s advice that those that can work from home, should.
Many of York’s small office businesses don’t have the tech.
My company will provide telecoms solutions enabling them to do so, completely free of charge, for three months to help them.
You can contact Richard at email@example.com.
‘Urgent action is needed now’ – Welcome To Yorkshire sends message to MPs
The new team at Welcome To Yorkshire have called on Yorkshire’s MPs to back support measures for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector.
In a letter to the Yorkshire and Humber MPs, the chair and chief executive of the tourism agency – James Mason and Peter Box – say:
As you know from your constituents who run these businesses, many have not yet recovered from the recent floods that decimated many parts of our region.
We fear this pandemic will cause many of our tourism businesses to close their doors for good.
Full text of the letter
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented health and economic crisis.
Across Yorkshire and the Humber, we have been inundated with calls for help from those running visitor attractions and destinations.
As you know from your constituents who run these businesses, many have not yet recovered from the recent floods that decimated many parts of our region. We fear this pandemic will cause many of our tourism businesses to close their doors for good.
The measures announced by the Chancellor this week, are far reaching and will be welcomed by many. But there is a sense from our members that urgent action is required now. The Prime Minister’s press conference on the 16th March effectively put the ‘closed’ sign on so many organisations that rely exclusively on tourists and visitors for their income.
We fully appreciate the pressure you are under, dealing with your caseloads and calls for help during this crisis. Without wishing to add to that burden, we are asking that you make representation to Government, specifically calling for a package of targeted support measures for businesses in the tourism, hospitality and allied industries.
Tourism is now worth £9 billion to this region’s economy. We can’t afford to lose that.
Peter Box CBE
Chair, Welcome to Yorkshire
Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire
York business coaches offer free advice webinars
Two business coaches based in York are to run a series of free webinars to help people weather the coronavirus crisis.
Mark Bowen and Chris Fordy, who are based at ActionCOACH at Clifton Moor, plan to run a weekly webinar for business owners to help them through this changing period.
Chris is the first to present at 12.30pm today (Friday, 20 March).
It is called 11 Positive Steps your business must start today. They say:
“Unless you are selling toilet paper or sanitiser, your business will need to make some changes, and make them now if you want to survive.
“But, this isn’t just about the survival of your business (although it could be) it’s about being ready for the economic shift that’s started and could become massive.
“Now is not the time to panic, which will only get in the way of what you need to be doing. While it’s completely understandable to be worried, your best bet is to channel that anxious energy and get prepared.”
You can register via this Eventbrite link.
Police warning over latest coronavirus scams
North Yorkshire Police has had a number of reports of fraud related to coronavirus over the last few weeks.
Sadly they say this is something that is likely to increase.
- HMRC tax refund
- Center for Disease Control or World Health Organisation
- Online sales of face masks and hand sanitiser
- Free school meals
To keep safe read the full list on the police website here.
Two York businesses offer their sewing skills to NHS for free
Alterations Express of Fossgate and Sew n’ Sew’s of Newgate, the Shambles are offering their combined skills and services to York Hospital and other essential services.
Owner David Binelli said:
In this difficult time of limited resources and help needed by the NHS, if there is anything that requires the help of skilled sewers and sewing machinists in the hospital, ambulance service, fire service or police force, then these two long established companies can help.
Please don’t hesitate to call Roslyn Clifton on 07724 232832 or use either of the emails below.
York YO1 9TA
Sew n’ Sew’s
York YO1 7LA
LNER to introduce a special temporary timetable
Train company LNER is to introduce a temporary timetable from Monday (23 March).
Train travel remains a vital public service and LNER will continue to operate our services to keep the country moving. However, we will begin temporarily reducing the train services we operate from Monday 23 March in response to lower customer demand, fewer colleagues available to work and Government advice against non-essential travel.
Another person has tested positive for coronavirus in York
Another person has tested positive for coronavirus in York.
The total confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the city now stands at five.
It’s the first positive test in the city for a number of days.
The latest figures from Public Health England show
- 3,269 infections on the UK – up 643
- 144 UK deaths
- 5 cases in York
- 13 cases in North Yorkshire
- 10 cases in East Yorkshire
Sharon Stoltz, director of Public Health at City of York Council has called on everyone to heed the health message:
The Government has put in place clear recommendations that encourage social distancing.
This approach is aimed at slowing down the spread of Covid-19, allowing our stretched NHS to cope with demand whilst we protect those most at risk from this virus.
Social distancing includes keeping 2m apart from another person, working from home wherever possible and avoiding large gatherings.
At a press conference earlier today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation he is “absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing in this country” and the tide can be turned within the next 12 weeks.
The Visit York Tourism Awards go virtual
The Visit York Tourism Awards will not go ahead on Thursday 23 April, due to the escalating uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19.
However the announcements will still be made during English Tourism Week, via a special broadcast with the support of Minster FM.
“This decision was not an easy one to make, but it is important that we ensure the safety of all those attending and, importantly, working this event,” said Sean Bullick, managing director of Make It York.
“Each year the Visit York Tourism Awards shines a light on the world-leading successes of York’s tourism industry so it is vitally important, never more so, that we find a way in these difficult times to share and celebrate these achievements.
“Using technology, and thanks to our valued partners at Minster FM, we are allowing the show to go on.”
Indeed, the show will go on with the help of Master of Ceremonies Ben Fry, Minster FM’s Breakfast Show host and the city’s Town Crier.
MD of Minster FM Bridget Meynell said:
Minster FM is delighted to be able to utilise our platforms to ensure a ‘virtual’ award ceremony happens in these unprecedented times.
This live show will be even more accessible, as everyone in the city and beyond will now have the chance to celebrate with the York tourism businesses that work so hard to make our beautiful city so welcoming. We are all looking forward to continuing to support them to do so in the future.
Primark is the latest York retailer to close
The Primark store in the Coppergate Centre will close after today (Thursday).
UPDATE: @Primark in #CoppergateYork will close at 6pm on Thursday 19th March until further notice. Please check in with their website and social media channels for updates. https://t.co/M4oC6Jjqat pic.twitter.com/LoFiuQna61
— Coppergate Centre (@coppergateyork) March 19, 2020
‘We have plans in place to maintain policing’
This from Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police:
North Yorkshire Police has plans in place to maintain policing services across the county and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the organisation.
The position is reviewed daily and although the situation has been business as usual, we expect this to alter over the coming weeks.
At the moment the public won’t see a difference in policing in the county other than increased hygiene practices, protective equipment if necessary and other practical measures taken to protect our workforce.
However, this may change over the coming weeks and plans are in place to respond to what is a rapid and fast-moving situation.
You can read the full statement here.
York health group closes two doctors’ surgeries
York Medical Group has updated its working arrangements to adapt to the new circumstances.
It has closed its Water Lane and Woodthorpe surgeries. All doctor’s appointments will be changed to telephone consultations.
All nurse appointments have been cancelled for now. Nurses will contact patients to discuss rebooking appointments.
But it says:
If you need same day care our service is still running. Please call as normal and a GP will advise the best course of action.
It is locking the doors at all surgeries – they “will only be opened for those patients that have appointments, this is to keep staff safe so we can keep surgeries working”.
The group asks people not to visit the surgery to drop off a prescription. The advice”
“Please sign up for the NHS App or ring the surgery and verbally sign up for online services via the query lines.
“If you cannot access these services please can you post your prescription to the surgery.”
Full details on the York Medical Group website.
Fenwick in York to close down until further notice
Fenwick is to close down after tomorrow.
The group has announced the closure of all its stores, including the one in the Coppergate Centre, from 6pm on Thursday (19 March).
“As a family business, the health and wellbeing of our customers, our teams and our local communities is always close to our heart and in these times of great uncertainty we need to do the right thing for them by mitigating the potential spread of the virus,” the business said in a statement on its website.
It went on:
You, our customers, are exceptional and we know you will understand that we have not taken this approach lightly.
The doors of Fenwick have been open to customers for almost 140 years – it goes against everything in our nature to close them.
But these aren’t normal times and we find ourselves in the unique situation where shutting our doors, for the time being, is the right thing to do for our customers, our colleagues and our communities.
Fenwick will continue to operate our digital and social channels including our online store “for as long as we can”.
York council issues statement on school closures
City of York Council have just issued this statement following the school closures announcement today:
City of York Council would like to reassure schools, early years and childcare providers, parents, carers and families that it’s continuing to support all education settings following today’s government announcement that schools and early years’ settings in England will be closing as of Friday afternoon until further notice.
The council is currently working through the details of today’s government announcement, particularly how we support schools to provide education settings to vulnerable young people and children of key workers. We continue to look further at how we can continue to support schools to provide children and young people with learning and development opportunities throughout this difficult time.
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:
We understand this is an incredibly difficult time for all schools, early years and childcare providers, parents, carers and families.
Throughout the outbreak, we have been communicating and working with all education settings to keep them updated and help them prepare as best as they can.
The council will work through the detail of the government’s announcement immediately. Making sure support is in place for children and families in the coming days in our priority and this includes exploring how we support the provision of free meals too.
For more information on school closures visit york.gov.uk/schoolclosures.
For more details about coronavirus visit york.gov.uk/coronavirus
Shambles Market will reopen tomorrow
Some positive news to report.
Shambles Market, closed yesterday, will reopen with some traders tomorrow (Thursday, 19 March).
It follows questions to Make It York, which runs the market, over why it needed to close – when supermarkets and other shops are operating normally, and the stalls are in a healthier, open air environment.
“MIY staff are therefore contacting traders to see how this can be best facilitated while complying with government guidance and public health requirements.
“We understand that is an unprecedented time of uncertainty for everyone and our aim is to do everything we can to support traders during this difficult time.”
Kevin Tuohy of the Shambles Traders Committee welcomed the decision. He said:
As small businesses we welcome the chance to trade whenever we can, following government guidelines to ourselves and others.
In these economic uncertain times, like any other local people, we need to pay the household bills.
Safety is paramount. But for us it’s business as normal until we’re told otherwise.
It’s important to support the city of York – its residents its tourists – and to support one another.
Schools in England to close from Friday
Schools in England are to close from Friday for all pupils – except for vulnerable students, and those with key worker parents.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons that the balance of risk had changed, and schools were struggling to stay open.
Key workers include NHS staff, the police and delivery drivers.
At a press conference Boris Johnson said “exams will not take place as planned in May and June” – but the government will make sure children get the qualifications they need.
The Prime Minister also advised parents that children should not be left with older grandparents.
Dame Judi Dench has just the message we need right now
Dame Judi Dench has undertaken many serious and weighty roles since first appearing as the forgetful angel in the 1951 York Mystery Plays.
But perhaps none more important than her latest film role.
Lasting all of ten seconds, and filmed by her daughter Finty Williams, Dame Judi has managed to put a smile on the nation’s face just when we needed it.
Give that woman another Damehood. Arise Dame Dame Judi Dench…
Message from Ma… pic.twitter.com/3ExqvA5tvY
— Finty williams (@finty_williams) March 18, 2020
Spark:Go serves its first customers
As we reported earlier Spark:York has reinvented itself as a collection and delivery service.
After closing down due to Covid-19, the business and food hub on Piccadilly has opened a collection and payment point at the front.
At lunchtime the first customer, Miriam Hemingway, bought a ham panini for her, and an Italian sausage panini for her husband.
She told YorkMix:
I think it’s amazing how they have pulled together and reacted.
They have got a lot of support from their local community – anything we can do to support local retailers.
Fairfax House – opening delayed
Fairfax House will not now open until 1 May.
The Georgian treasure on Castlegate is owned by the York Civic Trust, which said its own activities would be rescheduled until August.
The trust said today:
It is vitally important to stay connected and maintain good spirits during this testing time. Conservation work and heritage projects continue, and we thought you would be interested to see more so we will be bringing you a series of fascinating and fun videos across our digital channels.
We eagerly await the day that it is safe to welcome visitors through our doors again, however in the meantime, we hope you stay safe and send our best wishes.
Two more York primary schools close classes
From tomorrow Knavesmire Primary School reception classes will be closed.
And Copmanthorpe School has closed their Foundation Stage.
Other classes at both schools continue as normal. Both schools have taken the decision because staff are self-isolating.
In a letter to parents Copmanthorpe head teacher Jenny Rogers said:
We are supporting a significant number of our teaching and support staff to remain at home.
This means that we have had to take the difficult decision to close the school to pupils in Foundation Stage for Thursday and Friday. Years 1 to 6 will remain open.
We recognise the significant impact this will have, not only on pupils and their learning, but also on your family lives. Please be assured that this is not a decision we have taken lightly.
However, our primary concern is the safety of our students and staff and we must take all necessary steps to protect them and support our wider school community.
Now the York Dungeon is closed too
The York Dungeon has closed today (Wednesday, 18 March) until further notice
Its owner Merlin Entertainments put out a statement saying:
As part of the Government’s containment plan for the Covid-19 coronavirus, we have taken the decision to temporarily close The York Dungeon as a precautionary measure.
The move is consistent with the closure of other venues and postponement of events in order to prevent further outbreak.
It follows a deep clean at the Dungeon after one member of staff showed coronavirus symptoms.
York business offers free Shea Butter for people with cracked skin from hand washing
We’re all washing our hands more often and for longer than ever before.
But there can be a side-effect of following the government’s sound advice – cracked skin.
Lorraine Eadie of Tried & Tested Beauty is giving away free Shea Butter if you have eczema, dry or cracked skin from washing your hands.
Lorraine told YorkMix: “I’ve been out delivering this morning free of charge… Children’s little hands are do sore… And adults!”
Scouting and Girlguiding St George’s Day Parade in York is cancelled
Featuring more than 2,000 Rainbows, Beavers, Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Scouts, Rangers, Explorers, Young Leaders and Leaders, it is said to be the biggest procession of its kind in the country.
But this year the Scouting and Girlguiding St George’s Day Parade in York has been cancelled.
It was due to take place from the Eye of York on Sunday, 26 April, with a service at York Minster.
Alison Cunningham, Girlguiding County Commissioner for North Yorkshire South, said:
This is a difficult decision which has been taken after careful consideration with many of the different teams involved.
We hope that this plays a key role in helping promote the safety and well-being of our members, their families, volunteers and the public at large as this difficult time.
John Ives, Scout Assistant County Commissione, added: “We know that our members will be extremely disappointed that this popular event is not taking place this year, especially as Archbishop Sentamu had agreed to take part in the service, but trust that everyone will understand and support the reason for this.”
York St John University suspends teaching and extends Easter holiday
Today (Wednesday, 18 March) will be the last day of term for students at York St John University.
The university has suspended all face-to-face teaching and assessment and will be operating an extended Easter vacation from Wednesday 18 March until Sunday 19 April.
A major incident team at York St John University is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, working with partner organisations and following the advice of Public Health England and the World Health Organisation.
The team is led by Dr Amanda Wilcox, University Secretary and representatives from Health and Safety, HR, IT, Student Life, Registry, Estates, International and the Students’ Union. They will coordinate the University’s response as the situation develops. The team’s priorities are to protect the health of all members of the University community and reduce disruption to University academic activities.
City leaders share business support information
City leaders have joined together to ensure business owners have the information they need on how to access help.
The York Business Improvement District (BID), Make It York and the City of York Council are co-ordinating efforts for traders.
You can read our full story here.
And the city’s business support portal can be accessed here:
Teaching to be suspended at York College as it moves mainly online
York College has made an important announcement about the coming weeks.
Mindful of the need to keep staff and students safe an well, chief executive and principal Lee Probert has made these decisions:
- From 3pm today (Wednesday, 18 March) all teaching will be suspended for the rest of the week – there will be no taught sessions on Thursday or Friday. Students will not be required to attend.
- From Monday 23 March teaching will resume, but in an online format only – there will be no further face to face teaching, until further notice.
It is important to be clear that we are not closing, but we are seeking to move as far as possible to online delivery only; the majority of staff will be working remotely and available to support you.
In general they are not expecting students to be onsite after this afternoon. But they might be required to come in for practical assessments.
And students may need to go in to access IT and other facilities.
You can read the full details here.
Mr Probert adds: “These are unprecedented times in our country which require all of us to contribute to working and learning in a different way to contribute to the wider public health agenda and secure a good standard of education.”
York City FC closed until further notice
After National League North was suspended, York City FC has taken the next step and closed until further notice.
A spokesperson said:
The club will however, continue to support its players and staff remotely during these challenging circumstances.
Players have received electronic information and advice in relation to health, wellbeing and (if appropriate) keeping fit while in self-isolation. The manager, club doctor and coaching staff will remain contactable via phone and email.
The club has also re-communicated government advice and is offering ongoing support to staff, who are now working from home or self-isolating where necessary.
Their work in the community, via the YCFC Foundation, has also been suspended until further notice, but foundation staff will offer support remotely to its vulnerable community members.
“We do also, remain open on our club social media channels and welcome fans to use that forum to support each other,” the club said.
In advance of the club reopening, a date which we can’t confirm currently, Bootham Crescent and our training ground will undergo a deep clean.
York City Football Club Chairman Jason McGill said; “York City FC is more than just football, it is a support network and, for many, a family. On behalf of myself and the board, to our fans, players and staff ‘Stay safe and look after each other’.”
National news channel finds York shoppers defying PM to visit cafés and get their haircut
Sky News was in York on Tuesday to find out how the city was coping with coronavirus and all its effects.
And reporter Gerard Tubb found the city in defiant mood.
Heading to Bishopthorpe Road – where else? – he found Pextons hardware customers buying DIY materials as they prepared to spend more time in the house.
And Denise Sams, 72, had ventured out to get her hair done at Evolve hair salon. “This was getting me down, so this was necessity,” she told Gerard.
And at the Pig and Pastry café owner Julia Holding was taking orders outside.
You can read his full report here.
“One customer, a self-employed man ordering his lunch, told me he considers the social distancing requirements to be discretionary,” he said.
Confirmed York school closures from today
These are the school closures we know of from today (Wednesday, 18 March):
Huntington School – closed for Y10 and 12
Joseph Rowntree School – closed for Y8 and Y9
Westfield Primary School – closed for Nursery and Reception
Tadcaster Grammar School – closed for Y8, 9, 10 and 12
Clifford’s Tower closes till May
English Heritage has announced it is to close all of its staffed historic sites from the end of Wednesday (18 March) until 1 May.
That includes Clifford’s Tower in York.
“We will be reviewing this and will keep you updated,” the charity said.
“Some sites may be opened earlier and we will let you know if this is the case. We also need to cancel our public events during this period.
“Free-to-enter sites will remain open to visitors. These sites have large open spaces in which visitors can maintain social distancing and they are often located in quieter spots away from crowds.
York Museums Trust closes attractions, Roman Festival cancelled, all activities stopped for 12 weeks
The York Museums Trust has announced its three attractions are now closed until further notice.
York Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum, and York Art Gallery are closed as of tonight.
Museum Gardens will continue to open daily between 7:30am and 5:30pm.
In a statement released this evening the trust bosses said:
York Museums Trust is continuing to follow government advice and the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors are of the utmost importance.
We will also be cancelling all programmed activities and events for the next twelve weeks. This includes, Easter and Spring Bank holiday activities and the annual Eboracum Roman Festival.
The trust aims to share some of its collections through its social feeds,
“Together we will continue to preserve culture for you and for York, whilst caring for people’s health and wellbeing,” the statement said.