THE leader of York council says it is "absolutely critical" that the Government unlock more funding for businesses, after it was announced that the city will be put into Tier 2 of the coronavirus alert levels.

From one minute past midnight on Saturday morning, York will be placed at the high level of the government’s new three-tier restriction system, introduced in an effort to control the spread of the virus across the country. This will be reviewed in 14 days.

It follows a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases across the city.

City leaders are working hard to support residents and businesses to understand and minimise the impact the new measures will have on our daily lives.

To learn more about the new measures and what support is available, visit City of York Council will also be holding a special Facebook Live ‘Ask the Leaders’ Q&A session at tomorrow (Friday) to which it will be shortly issuing residents an invitation.

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of the council, said: “This year has been exceptionally difficult for everyone, and we are grateful to residents and businesses across the city who have gone to great lengths to adapt to the new guidance and protect our city. However, we must adapt again.

“Despite being restricted from mixing indoors, there are still plenty of ways we can spend time with our family, friends and in the city. Our businesses have stepped up and created controlled safe spaces for people to safely enjoy the city. It is crucial that we continue in this spirit, shop local and work together to protect the people and places we love.

“Together with our partners, we will continue to lobby the Government for further financial support for our local businesses during this difficult time, as it is absolutely critical that the Government unlock more funding for businesses and to ensure employment support in areas with additional restrictions.

“Despite this year’s challenges, York has demonstrated what it does best − pulling together and supporting each other. It is crucial that we continue in this spirit to avoid any further restrictions and protect our city.”

York’s infection rate has risen significantly. The provisional rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period October 6-12 in York is 247.37. (Using data published on on October 14). The latest local “validated” seven day rate for York for the period October 2-8 was 261.1. The national and regional averages at this date were 156.5 and 267.5 respectively ( PHE Centre Daily Covid-19 Report October 14).

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, said: “The new restrictions will make life more difficult, but following them is our best chance to slow the virus and have them removed as quickly as possible.

“This year has been tough for everyone and once again, we are asking people in our city, who have already done so much, to go further to protect each other.

“We continue to closely monitor the data to track and trace the spread of the virus as quickly as possible. We’re seeing the virus spread mainly through social contact and households mixing indoors and not social distancing.

“We must continue to wash our hands regularly, observe social distancing and wear face coverings in busy places.

“Please make sure you are familiar with the symptoms. Self-isolate if you show any of them, and book a test straight away. If you need advice or help, please visit or call our help line 01904 551550.”

What the new restrictions will mean:

  • You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants
  • You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. When you do so you must not meet in a group of more than 6
  • Visiting indoor hospitality/leisure/retail settings is restricted to one household i.e. two households must not meet in these settings (unless those two households are in a support bubble)
  • People are advised only to visit care homes in exceptional circumstances (further work will be undertaken locally to agree what this means)
  • People should only travel for essential reasons
  • You can still go on holiday outside of your area, but you should only do this with people you live with, or have formed a support bubble with (dependant on any local restrictions in the area you are visiting)
  • People can play a team sport only where this is formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, and sports-governing body guidance has been issued
  • People should not attend amateur or professional sporting events as spectators
  • Wedding receptions and celebrations can continue for up to 15 people in the form of a sit-down meal and in a Covid-secure setting, not in a private dwelling
  • Up to 30 people can attend a funeral (York capacity remains at 18), and 15 for a wake in a Covid-secure setting, not in a private dwelling