Freshers Week is back in York – and last night a huge queue of students was pictured outside on of the city centre’s most popular bars.
The queue, with little evidence of social distancing, was for the Welcome Sunday event aimed at York St John University freshers.
This event had two three-hour slots, one at 8.30pm and another at 11.30pm.
Both were popular with the new students, with 250 tickets said to be sold for each event.
One witness said: “There was no social distancing in the queue. It looks like they didn’t get it right.”
It comes as the ‘rule of six’ legislation came into force, banning social gatherings of more than six people, following a rise in coronavirus cases.
Pubs, restaurants, shops and other venues will remain open, but people can only attend in groups of up to six. Venues should also allow for social distancing between groups.
Booked in ‘bubble groups’
The Welcome To York event was spread out over four bar areas across two floors and the terrace, and included live DJs and “students drinks pricing”.
Safety measures were put in place by organisers in advance. These included table service only and tickets being bought in advance.
The event said: “To ensure safety and compliance with current government guidance Revolution is operating at reduced capacity, introducing additional operating procedures and is requiring that every table is booked exclusively by an existing ‘bubble group’.”
It comes as York’s universities and colleges issued a collective statement about their commitment to keeping the city safe as students return.
The statement, from the vice-chancellors of both York and York St John universities as well as the principals of Askham Bryan College and York College said: “The onset of the Covid crisis has been extremely unsettling and like everyone else, our students have experienced financial, health and wellbeing challenges.
“We want to reassure all of the city’s residents that as students return to the region to begin or resume their studies, the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the local community is at the very heart of everything that we do.”
They said they have been planning for the autumn term for months, in close partnership with local bodies such as City of York Council and York NHS Trust, as well as experts in health and safety.
“This collaborative approach will ensure we are ready to rapidly respond to any public health scenarios.
“Each of our decisions around the start of term is underpinned by the latest government and public health advice as well as our own thorough risk assessments.”
And these measures are in place to keep campuses Covid-secure:
- Hand washing and sanitising; physical distancing; enhanced cleaning and face coverings
- Online lectures and staggered starts for face-to-face learning
- Fully supporting overseas students who need to quarantine
- Events and activities to have limited numbers and to take place in carefully managed indoor and outdoor settings.
- Staff and students encouraged to walk or cycle to campus where possible to reduce demand on public transport.
- Partners in city-wide health and safety measures to implement test, track and trace.
The statement said: “We feel sure that the sense of community and shared purpose, which is a hallmark of our institutions and the city of York as a whole, put us in a strong position in keeping each other safe. “