‘We must balance opening up York’s economy with ensuring the health of residents, workers and visitors’

Leader of City of York Council Keith Aspden
12 Aug 2020 @ 12.18 pm
| Opinion

Council leader Keith Aspden writes for YorkMix about the city’s response to the pandemic – and what happens next

It’s excellent to see more of our local businesses reopening and I know many residents have played their part to support our local business community by shopping local.

To build on this, our recovery plan places public health at its heart, as our number one priority remains the health and wellbeing of everyone across York.

As we look towards the recovery phase, we do so with respect and sympathy for those no longer with us, their families and friends.

Over the past weeks, we have worked quickly to help local businesses start a phased reopening, as government guidance has evolved. This has included an extensive toolkit for businesses and licensed premises, in order to ensure they can reopen safely and follow social distancing guidelines.

As more people have been shopping local throughout the pandemic, we have trialled new measures to make it easier for people to visit the shops, whilst socially distancing.

We have also reopened public spaces in a bid to facilitate outdoor trading. This phased reopening is vital for our local economy and I would encourage people to support our local businesses safely.

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Social distancing signs near Shambles. Photograph: YorkMix

It is important that we all play our part in the recovery by supporting local jobs and businesses throughout this difficult time.

This is, of course, a time of change for everyone, and I know that so many residents have worked within their communities to support each other as we get to grips with these new ways of working.

This is, of course, a time of change for everyone, and I know that so many residents have worked within their communities to support each other as we get to grips with these new ways of working

– Keith Aspden

Whether that be wearing a face mask or following a one way system, these measures have been put in place to protect us all. Looking forward, it is incredibly important we balance opening up York’s economy, with ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents, people working and visitors. 

We have worked incredibly well as a city so far, and we will continue to build on this.

As we look to the future, we want to hear your thoughts on the big challenges impacting our city. I encourage as many residents as possible to claim their stake in the city’s future by joining ‘Our Big Conversation’ over the next 12 months. Make your voice heard by visiting Our Big Conversation online.