York is reopening to shoppers. Here’s what to expect

A social distancing sign in St Helen's Square. Photograph: YorkMix
14 Jun 2020 @ 10.12 pm
| Shopping

Shops can reopen today, and a lot of work has gone into making York a safe and welcoming place in these challenging times.

City of York Council, the York BID, Make It York and others have worked together to prepare the city for the easing of lockdown.

So what can we expect?

Here’s a quick run-down.

1. Buses and car parks

Buses are still operating at reduced capacity. You can to live track the location of the next First York bus and how many seats it has available by using its app.

From Monday (15 June) anyone wishing to travel by bus in England must follow new government rules and wear a face covering.

All council run car parks reopen on Monday, including Fossbank and Piccadilly.

The following changes have been made in the car parks to support and protect members of the public, including:

  • providing cashless payment options through the Ringo App
  • social distancing markings being placed round all parking machines.

More parking bays are being made available for Blue Badge holders in Monk Bar car park just off Lord Mayor’s Walk from Wednesday.

2. Making space on the streets

City of York Council is extending York’s footstreets from 15 June to provide more space for people to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier.

Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square), King’s Square, Church Street, Colliergate, Blake Street, St Helen’s Square, Lendal will be pedestrianised between 10.30am and 5pm.

Signs will show changes to streets and encouraging people to keep a distance and show consideration to others. Some narrow streets like Shambles will become ‘one way’.

Businesses have been working hard undertaking risk assessments, buying PPE and arranging their premises to make them as safe as possible for returning staff and customers.

3. What people are expected to do

Everyone will be asked to follow simple but essential guidelines, such as:

  • ‘Keep Left’ on pedestrianised streets
  • Use allocated queuing zones outside shops
  • Respect one-way systems where walkways aren’t wide enough for two-way pedestrian traffic
  • If you need to use a lift – only people from the same household will be able to travel together – so queues are possible
  • You will need to socially distance wherever possible – this includes keeping your distance from staff inside shops
  • Don’t linger in thoroughfares and doorways.

People are asked to be patient, as all these measures are new to everybody and there will be some delays and teething troubles.

4. Hand sanitisers

Many retailers are making hand sanitisers available for customers.

Hand sanitiser stations have been set up in outdoor areas of the Coppergate Centre.

4. Shop openings

Not all retailers will re-open on Monday 15 June – some will open at a later date, and some will be opening with reduced hours, or only on specific days.

It is worth checking online before travelling if you want to visit a specific shop.  From a recent survey the York BID understands around 60% of retailers are planning to open their doors next week, with a further 20% later in June.

It is sharing information on which businesses are open on the York BID Instagram stories.

5. What happens inside shops?

Every store will be different, but expect:

  • One-way systems
  • Social distancing
  • A maximum number of people inside at any one time
  • Changing rooms being closed
  • Café’s in larger stores will be closed
  • Toilets in larger stores will be closed
  • Policies such as no in-store returns.

6. Shambles Market

All traders are allowed back to Shambles Market from Monday.

Measures to be implemented include a one-way system and a re-configuration of the layout of the stalls to improve the flow of customers and minimise disruption to traders.

Benches have been removed from the food court area and new signage and barriers will be introduced into the space to aid with social distancing. 

6. Toilets and open spaces

Benches in the city centre are in place but social distancing guidelines must be observed at all times.

The Museum Gardens are currently closed but the Minster’s Deans Park is open.

Public toilets will be open. These are situated at

  • Silver Street (baby change)
  • Coppergate Shopping Centre (baby change)
  • Nunnery Lane (baby change)
  • St George’s Field (baby change in disabled facility – 40p entry)
  • Rougier Street (baby change)
  • St Leonards Place and Union Terrace (baby change).

All public toilets have disabled access which requires a RADAR key. Flushes and soap dispensers will be automatic and cleaning has been ramped up.

The toilets in large stores like Marks & Spencer and Browns will be closed. Please use the public facilities and make sure you have some spare change with you as most public toilets charge 40p entry.

7. Refreshments

While you can’t eat in at cafés and restaurants yet, many are offering take-away food and drink. There are street food kiosks at Shambles Market food court and the Coppergate Centre.