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Thank you for staying at home – please continue as we approach the Easter weekend and a critical period in the spread of the virus

Last modified: 27 April 2020 at 09:56am

As we approach the Easter weekend which usually marks the start of a very busy summer season across York and North Yorkshire, the agencies responding to the Coronavirus outbreak across the county are urging people to stay away, stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

North Yorkshire’s national parks, coastlines, beauty spots and picturesque towns and cities are a magnet for visitors who would be very welcome at any other time. But officers are stressing that making unnecessary journeys as we continue to work to slow the spread of the virus could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable and Gold commander leading the response to the outbreak, said: “The majority of people across York and North Yorkshire have listened to the Government’s guidance and have stayed at home and I thank them for that. But there are still a minority of people who are ignoring it. With Easter approaching, we understand people’s wish to visit family and friends but please remember the very serious reasons why this is not possible right now.

“No-one could fail to be moved by the images we’ve seen over the past few weeks, from a child’s funeral to exhausted NHS staff who are risking their own live to save ours. We really are all in this together, so I urge everyone to please remember why we all have to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

“We’ll be continuing our high-visibility patrols over the weekend and will continue to engage, explain and encourage members of the public to adhere to the guidelines. We will only use enforcement if we have to. As we have seen from our patrols this week, the vast majority of people who we have spoken with were out for genuine reasons, but there are some who continue to flout the rules. Please don’t be one of them. And remember everything that North Yorkshire has to offer will still be here when we have come through this.”

Richard Flinton, chair of the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum and chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “The next few weeks are critical in the nation’s fight to slow the rate of infection of this very dangerous virus.  We all have our part to play and what we do now will have a bearing on whether more people die or whether lives are spared. If we act irresponsibly more people will die.  The instruction is to exercise from your doorstep once a day and not to travel to other places for this.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Traffic Bureaus are also urging drivers not to use the county’s roads as a racetrack, having recorded speeds of up to 132mph over the past two weeks. Police patrols and safety camera vans, which are operated by key-worker police staff rather than officers, have been used at key locations to try to prevent further casualties and protect valuable emergency service and NHS resources.

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