Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today we emerge from the second lockdown and the first thing to say is undoubtedly a big thank you to every single person right across our county for helping us use that opportunity to get on top of infection rates. You will probably be aware that we are the only area of Yorkshire, and one of a limited number in the north, not to be in the toughest tier, Tier 3. Thanks to your sacrifice and hard work we are, in fact, continuing to see our infection rates here reduce. Today all areas of the county, as well as our neighbours in the City of York, are sitting very comfortably below the England average.

We must not be complacent, particularly with the relaxation of the rules for that five-day window over Christmas, but this is positive news and I hope you will keep up your magnificent response. The lower we can get our rates before Christmas the better. We know that the mixing of households over the period of relaxation has the potential to see rates bounce back up in the New Year. Like you, we do not want to see a third wave here. Like you, we want to see our businesses well placed to plan for recovery in 2021 and so we all have a very important part to play in this. We must not drop our guard when we enjoy time with our loved ones and I ask you to take very particular care around older family members and people who may be more vulnerable due to medical conditions. We can be together but keep our distance and give the virus the least possible opportunity to use our families to get a grip on our communities again.

Alongside those declining rates is more good news today regarding the first vaccine to be approved for use in the UK. As Chair of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, I can give you confidence that we have been supporting our NHS partners in anticipation of this announcement. Working together with all the partners, we will ensure that the facilities and resources, which are required to support the roll-out of vaccines, are in place here. We have a strong track record in North Yorkshire of responding well to emergencies and we are already driving forward these plans together at pace. A vaccine has been both long-awaited and anticipated, so whatever needs to be done will be done. This programme will be led by the NHS and we look forward to further information in the coming days.

For those who might be thinking about not sticking to the Tier 2 restrictions, it’s worth remembering that our colleagues in the police have handed out more than 230 fines since we went into the second lockdown. 178 of those were along the coast – where rates were soaring just a few weeks ago. That’s £35,000 worth of fines issued in a single month in one area, largely to people who were out and about in lockdown without a reasonable excuse. Despite the thoughtlessness of those few, the vast majority of the residents of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey still managed to pull together to turn the tide on the virus, which shows everywhere else what can be done when we stand together.

A couple more points I wanted to share. Today we have hosted a virtual staff awards. Every year we are impressed and humbled by the efforts to which so many of our 6,000 staff go to deliver the best possible public services to you. This year was no exception; in fact, it was in many ways better than ever. Because we have been able to thank the teams who have been leading the volunteer effort – serving isolated and vulnerable people right across the county and ensuring no-one was alone here during the pandemic. We have celebrated innovations in technology and new ways to design and deliver services to support the public. The vast majority of our staff are also residents, living with and alongside you, and I hope you will join me in applauding their terrific efforts.

And tomorrow (December 3) we are celebrating the International Day for People with Disabilities. This year, the theme is “Not all Disabilities are Visible” to raise awareness that not all disabilities are immediately apparent or physical. This could include mental illnesses, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing loss, brain injuries, neurological disorders and learning disabilities. At the county council, we support a range of groups ensuring people of all abilities have a voice and I hope you will enjoy reading more about their excellent work here

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-celebrates-international-day-people-disabilities

It is really rewarding to be able to bring you these words of hope and positivity. This has been the most challenging year for you all. Your spirit and determination has been as resilient as ever and your efforts are so appreciated. Stay safe and please enjoy shopping locally and supporting local businesses at this important time. If you can’t get out and about, this directory offers lots of choice so you can still Buy Local   https://buylocal.northyorks.gov.uk/

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 29 November, there have been 13,271 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,730 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 81 cases per day, but may be as high as 124 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-data.

North Yorkshire is now in Tier 2 (High alert)

From today (2 December), North Yorkshire will be in Tier 2 (High alert). You can view a list of what you can and cannot do in Tier 2 of local restrictions by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert . With Christmas fast approaching, Government have also issued guidance for the Christmas period, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-the-christmas-period

From 2nd December, non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, beauty parlours, and the wider leisure sector can reopen. Business owners across North Yorkshire have been working to make their businesses as COVID-secure as possible. From 2nd December:

  • Restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen, serving until 10pm and closing at 11pm. In Tier 2, patrons of pubs and restaurants can only drink alcohol with a substantial meal and may only sit indoors with their household or outdoors with up to six people from different households. Wet pubs and bars must close.
  • Hospitality businesses can continue to trade using delivery services, click-and-collect or drive-through after 10pm.
  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open, but nightclubs must be closed.
  • Entertainment venues must close at 11pm and attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower.
  • From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet in shops will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor shops and open-air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets. Check the rules for your tier.
  • Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in venues otherwise permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate COVID-secure measures, including social distancing.
  • There is further information in the guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

 

Whilst using these services or doing Christmas shopping, we all need to continue to follow the Hands. Face. Space guidance as much as possible to keep the levels of coronavirus down in North Yorkshire:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving, but if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before.

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day – Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day – Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day – Selby – Portholme car park, Crescent Carpark, Selby, YO8 4QH
  • Thursday 3 December – Whitby – Whitby Marina car park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 3 December – Richmond – Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Thursday 3 December – Malton – Wentworth Street car park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Friday 4 December – Sherburn in Elmet –  Pasture Way car park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 4 December – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust car cark, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 4 December – Easingwold – Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 5 December – Selby – South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 5 December – Settle – Greenfoot car park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 5 December – Filey – Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 6 December – Scarborough  Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 6 December – Richmond – Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 6 December – Thirsk – Millgate car park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 6 December – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Skipton local testing sites opening date set

A permanent Covid-19 local testing site is scheduled to open in Skipton on Saturday, 12 December, to support the ongoing expansion of Covid-19 testing.

The site will join those already operating in Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby. These are in addition to the mobile testing units that are regularly deployed around the county.

The Skipton site will be in Cavendish Street car park. Building work is expected to start on 9 December, with the site operational on 12 December.

North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum has worked with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to secure these locations for walk-in testing sites. The Skipton site will be operated on behalf of the DHSC by G4S.

The sites greatly increase capacity for testing in North Yorkshire. They are indoors and allow walk-in appointments. People do not need to arrive in a vehicle, unlike drive-through mobile testing units where testing is inside a vehicle. Local testing sites offer Covid-19 testing from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Appointments must be booked in advance. Book a test on the County Council’s website, www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test, or by calling 119.

Local testing sites take bookings from within a radius of 10 miles. Mobile testing units will continue to run alongside these with a range of 75 miles.

School attendance continues to remain above the national average, and has increased further as we see coronavirus rates drop across the county. It now stands at about 90 per cent.

We only have one school fully closed and we have fewer than 30 schools with a class or year group self-isolating.

There are no plans to close schools early for Christmas. Government guidance has made it clear they must remain open for pupils until the end of term, which is approximately December 18 for most schools in the county. We are working hard to minimise any further disruption to children’s education this year and it’s important they continue to attend school for their academic progress, their mental health and wellbeing.

We are currently in the process of distributing £1.4m to schools, academies and early years providers to help those families hardest hit by the pandemic. The funding will ensure that children eligible for free school meals in North Yorkshire will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the next school year.

All schools should have received the Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding by Monday, December 7. They will then be able to start distributing supermarket vouchers to families they have identified as in need, which are equivalent to £20 per child per week. Care leavers will also receive vouchers.

Schools are being given the discretion to extend the scheme to not just those in receipt of free school meals, but others they have identified, in recognition of the fact that some families may be newly struggling as a result of the pandemic.

North Yorkshire’s schools and early years providers will be distributing vouchers to supermarkets which are local to the school.

We would like to thank schools for their support in getting this money to children most in need. This voucher scheme should make a real difference to families who are struggling and we appreciate their collaboration with the County Council in this initiative.

Any parents who experience any difficulties with the voucher scheme during the school holidays are asked to contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm.

With North Yorkshire now in Tier 2, Government advice for people who are at higher risk of being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19 is to continue to keep their number of social interactions low and take extra care to follow strict social distancing. Advice also includes getting help from family or friends with shopping and other essentials.

For people without those local networks, who have relied on the help of community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside, that safety net of support remains in place. CSOs are also helping to make sure people are planning ahead and prepared for the Christmas period when shops will be closed.

In Skipton, a pop-up community café run by volunteers has been supplying 40 meals every week to local people. Former chef Ray Marfell said: “The cafe is a fantastic place for people to meet up and I was worried that those who relied on that weekly contact were missing out.”

For many weeks now, however, Tuesday has been delivery day around the Greatwood and Horseclose estate and beyond.

In the five years the café has been running, it has become a hub for people to get to know one another and meet friends while enjoying home-cooked meals. Ray added: “It has been important to keep the contact with customers as much as possible, especially those who benefited most from the community spirit of the café.”

Karen McIntyre, Greatwood and Horse Close Community Centre manager, said: “Ray and his band of volunteers have done a fantastic job in turning Scoff Café into a takeaway service to deliver a fabulous two-course meal to the customers who missed the vibe and food the weekly café brought them before Covid struck.”

One such customer is Gerry Carroll. “When the restrictions were put on us I was worried I wouldn’t see anyone so I have found the takeaway service Ray has organised has been wonderful. I usually order two meals, have one on the day it is delivered and save another for the end of the week. What Ray and the volunteers have been doing is fantastic. They have really gone out of their way for people so they don’t feel forgotten,” said Gerry.

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat at www.northyorks.gov.uk/contactus.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Small business Saturday

Saturday, 5 December, is Small business Saturday – give your community a gift this Christmas and do your seasonal shopping at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buylocal

There are more than 800 businesses registered on the site, offering some unique products and services.

Here are a few ways you can help keep the heart of your local economy beating:

  • Encourage covid-safe business owners or tradespeople you know to register on northyorks.gov.uk/buylocal – it’s free, quick and easy
  • Shop online or in store with retailers near you
  • Encourage your friends and families to do the same
  • Follow @northyorkscc on social media and share our buy local messages.

 

LEP News: Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

The grant is now available as of Tuesday, 1 December, from Scarborough Borough Council, Craven District Council, Ryedale District Council, Selby District Council, Hambleton District Council and City of York Council.

Follow the links as listed on our website to find the relevant support: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/coronavirus-support-york-north-yorkshire/

EU Transition: What you need to know about tariffs and taxation in 2021 – 3 December, noon

In partnership with the Department for International Trade and Garbutt + Elliott, this free webinar will help businesses to prepare for the changes in tariffs and taxation from January 2021.

Booking link: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/what-you-need-to-know-about-tariffs-and-taxation-in-2021/

PopUp Business School: FREE online course: 7-12 December, 10am-3pm

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is offering entrepreneurs of the future FREE places on an acclaimed workshop to start a business.

Designed to inspire people and help them find the confidence to try their ideas, the PopUp Business School is aimed at everyone, from those with no cash and no business experience to fledgling start-ups that need guidance to keep on track. Sign up here: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/popup-business-school-2/

Business Development Series: Find Your Path – Reshape your Business for a Recession.

8 December, noon

This free webinar from York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub will act as a business planning session helping attendees to re-evaluate and develop their businesses through this  difficult trading period.

Booking link: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/business-development-series-reshape-your-business-for-a-recession/

COVID-19 financial support highlights

  • The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 31 March 2021.
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021.
  • The Bounce Back Loan, Business Interruption Loans and Future Fund have been extended until 31 January 2021. Last week’s Spending Review committed £519 million of funding in 2021-22 to support the continued delivery of these loans, including paying for the 12-month interest free period.

 

Detail on these schemes is available here: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/coronavirus-financial-support/

Government spending review

The Spending Review in full can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents

Key highlights for businesses:

  • The National Living Wage will increase to £8.91 for those aged 23 and over from April 2021.
  • A further £100m allocation for the Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), bringing the total for investment to over £500m.
  • A new £2.9bn Restart Scheme to help more than one million unemployed people look for work.
  • The business rates multiplier has been frozen for 2021-22, saving businesses in England £575 million over the next five years.
  • There will be an additional £56.5 million provided in 2021-22 to support the vitality and entrepreneurship of the UK by expanding the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans to meet the increase in demand and support entrepreneurs to start and grow their business

 

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

The course is open to families with children of all ages. Participants will need a tablet or laptop with an internet connection and a camera to record themselves, so that their contribution can be captured for the wider public audience to appreciate.

The last session will be on Tuesday, 15 December. For more information and to book, visit https://ebsontrackprospect.northyorks.gov.uk/Page/Prospectus_CourseOverview?uio_id=12202

Or call the Adult Learning team on 01609 536066 or email adultlearningservice@northyorks.gov.uk

In January, the service will launch a virtual choir for adults. Details will be posted in the course finder at www.northyorks.gov.uk/view-adult-learning-courses-and-enrol-online