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Coronavirus - update: Tuesday, 19 May

Coronavirus - update: Tuesday, 19 May

Published by May Norman at 8:34am 19th May 2020. (Updated at 4:23pm 19th May 2020)

Coronavirus pandemic: Tuesday, 19 May

Stray FM has put together an advice page - which can be found here.

We are also updating this interactive article DAILY, with the latest local information.

Here's what you need to know (this page will be regularly updated):


Harrogate MP 'immensely concerned' over unemployment figures

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, has expressed his ‘immense concern’ over the latest unemployment figures for his constituency.

The figures for April, released by the Department for Employment earlier today, showed a large increase in the number of unemployed in the area with 2,570 claimants – up over 1,500 on the March figure.  

Nationally, there was an increase in the number of unemployed of over 800,000 taking the figure over 2million.

Mr Jones said:

“Countries across the world have seen huge jumps in unemployment as part of the shockwave coronavirus has delivered to the global economy.  The UK is not alone but that does not make the figures any less worrying.

“In our area we have had traditionally low unemployment typically around 1 per cent of the workforce.  That figure is now just over 4 per cent of the working age population.  In terms of young people the figure has increased dramatically with 370 unemployed between the ages of 18 and 24 – up 220 on the previous month.”

Unemployment in the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge is still a percentage point lower than the national average - which stands at 5.1 per cent.



North Yorkshire stages its first virtual council meeting 

North Yorkshire County Council staged its first virtual council meeting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In order to comply with social distancing measures, the Executive meeting was held on Skype and broadcast to the County Council’s YouTube page. 

County Council Leader Councillor Carl Les said:

"The first virtual meeting of the Executive went very well. From the safety of our isolated settings we were able to have a full discussion and hear the range of views from different councillors.

“Even during the coronavirus pandemic, it is integral to maintain democracy. Virtual meetings mean we have the ability to continue in our democratic role and make important decisions with the public watching."

Future virtual meetings can be viewed on the County Council’s YouTube page.


Website to support North Yorkshire families during lockdown 

A new website has been launched to help families who may be facing a strain on relationships during lockdown.  

Relationship Matters is a new partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and 14 other local authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber.  

The website offers information, tips and help to stay calm, work out what needs to happen and signposts for those who need to get help. 

County Councillor Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adults Services and Health Integration, said:

“The coronavirus restrictions have led to big changes in our everyday lives and so it is inevitable that some relationships are feeling strained. However, the way couples communicate disagreements can impact on their relationship and their children. 

“The Relationship Matters website represents a shared working between a number of local authorities and I would like to thank everybody who has helped in its launch.” 

You can find out more here.  



Harrogate Hotel receives official NHS thanks

A Harrogate hotel, The White Hart, has received an official letter of thanks from the Chief Executive of the NHS for their help and support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The letter, which names many of the key members of staff working to help NHS and key workers, was sent following the opening of the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate - as a thank you to the team.

The White Hart Hotel & Apartments was one of the only hotels to remain open for NHS and other key workers who needed somewhere to stay, following the lockdown announcement. The team provided bed, breakfast and evening meals for guests and delivered food to their rooms to ensure social distancing. They also made packed lunches for workers.   

The letter sent by Steve Russell, Chief Executive of NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber, reads:

“The saying goes not all heroes wear capes. But it is also true that not all heroes wear NHS lanyards.”  

He also added that the team is now ‘a part of history’:

“This is a moment in time that will be remembered by generations and you can be proud to have played your part. Without you, we would not be here today and we are honoured to have worked alongside you.”

Simon Cotton, Managing Director of HRH Group said:

“We are all humbled to receive such a lovely letter from the NHS and it has really given the team at The White Hart Hotel a great boost. When we set out to look after key workers, we did it because we wanted to be of use in these difficult times. We never thought that our team would become a part of Team Nightingale and become key workers ourselves.”


Two more coronavirus deaths in Stray FM area

Two more coronavirus deaths have been confirmed in the Stray FM area.  

One was a patient at Harrogate Hospital and the other at Airedale Hospital.   

The total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England is now 24,913.

You can read more here.  



Connexion Buses protecting staff and customers

Connexion Buses are set to ramp up their services as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, but they're also making sure both staff and customers are safe with this small guide.

The guide includes advice, such as asking customers to consider face masks whilst travelling, and also includes details of social distancing on board Connexion services:


Made with love by Harrogate Scrubbers

The fantastic work being done by Harrogate Scrubbers is still bringing smiles to the faces of key workers across the area throughout the Coronavirus crisis, with the group now at almost £19,000 raised in their bid to support the NHS by sewing scrubs.

The scrubs sewn by the group often include small messages of support, including this homemade label from Cathy below.

Check out their fundraising page here


'Wrong' Covid-19 advice could have led to mistakes

A senior minister has said that "wrong" advice at the start of the coronavirus outbreak could have led to mistakes in the government's response.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey made the comments during an interview with Sky News in which she was challenged about ministers' handling of COVID-19 in adult social care. 

Asked if the government had, in hindsight, got the approach to care homes wrong, Ms Coffey said that "you can only make judgements and decisions based on the information and advice that you have at the time".

Pressed again, she replied: "If the science was wrong, the advice at the time was wrong, I'm not surprised if people then think we made a wrong decision."

Read the full story here


Crumble It Live

Wensleydale Creamery in the Yorkshire Dales are set to launch a series of fun and interactive online cookery tutorials to make the nation’s at-home meals that extra bit special!

Bringing Yorkshire Wensleydale inspired recipes to your home, the four-part live cookery series will launch tomorrow (Wednesday 20th May) at 4pm via Facebook.

You’ll be able to create mouth-watering recipes from the comfort of you own home in just 20 minutes, joining Advisory Chef, Ollie Bennett, in cooking the recipes while having the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about what makes them so special...


Yorkshire Ambulance Service 'overwhelmed' by support

The work being done by our emergency services during the Coronavirus crisis is hugely appreciated, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service have said they are 'overwhelmed' with the gestures of kindness they have received.

People have been donating food, meals and heartfelt gifts such as flowers to the service to show gratitude for their tireless work during the crisis: 


'Specials' volunteer over 2,000 hours

North Yorkshire Police are celebrating the fantastic support of their Special Constables, who have volunteered 2,334 hours between them to help combat the coronavirus crisis.

‘Specials’, as they are known, have been working with regular colleagues to respond to emergency calls, as well as engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing members of the public to adhere to the government’s guidelines on social distancing.

A total of 55 'Specials' have completed 2,334 hours of deployment over 405 duties between Monday 23th March and Sunday 17th May.


Queues at Harrogate recycling centre 

Following its reopening, Harrogate household waste recycling centre is currently experiencing long queues as people attempt to dispose of their household waste.

Harrogate Borough Council have asked that people only take their waste to the centre if it cannot be stored at home.

See the list of centres now open at the link below:


My Mind Matters Webinar

North Yorkshire Sport's 'My Mind Matters' Webinar is set for 7:30pm tonight with a special guest appearance from Early Bird Running Crew founder Ben Dave. 

The webinar explores the link between physical activity and your mental health, and will include Ben's own story about battling depression:


'Thanks for doing the right thing'

With only a handful of isolated issues reported, the agencies responsible for keeping North Yorkshire and its residents safe are thanking everyone who did the right thing over the weekend.

Following widespread calls for people to wait until the county’s attractions and businesses reopen before visiting, the vast majority of people avoided the rural and coastal visitor hot spots.

Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, said: “The vast majority of people did the right thing and avoided potentially busy areas. We applaud everyone for that collective effort."


World Cup of Yorkshire returns...

It's that time again!

Welcome to Yorkshire have been holding the 'World Cup of Yorkshire' throughout lockdown to crown the regions favourite family attractions, restaurants and other hotspots.

Tomorrow they'll be launching their next competition - hotels!

Nominate your favourite via Twitter and see if it can make Yorkshire's final 32:


Social distancing in the Dales

Check out this social distancing reference guide - Yorkshire Dales style!

Make sure you're at least three Spaniels away from other people at all times... 


Test it Tuesday


Testing for key workers

There are Covid-19 tests available across the area for key workers, with mobile testing units set up in Northallerton, Settle and Scarborough over the next few days.

If you're a key worker and want to get yourself tested, don't forget to register online first:


Free bus travel restrictions to return

Restrictions on when pensioners can use their free bus pass across West Yorkshire will be re-introduced to allow more workers to use public transport.

With many supermarkets allocating specific shopping hours for elderly customers, often in the morning, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority relaxed rules meaning pensioners with free bus passes could travel on public transport for free before 9.30am.

Due to social distancing guidelines, bus routes will be able to transport fewer passengers at any one time. Paul Matthews, managing director of First Bus, told the Transport Committee that double decker buses could be reduced to carrying just 19 passengers to allow people to keep their distance.

Read the full story here


'Don't leave donations outside closed charity shops'

Cancer Research UK is urging people across North Yorkshire not to leave donations on the doorsteps of its shops whilst lockdown continues.

To protect staff, volunteers and customers during the coronavirus outbreak, all the charity’s stores are temporarily closed.

Without anyone to accept them, donated items left outside shops could be damaged, stolen or become a hazard to the community.

Read the full story here


Ashville College make PPE for Harrogate care homes

As the lockdown rumbles on, the community spirit throughout the Stray FM area has shown no signs of dwindling!

A group of support staff from Harrogate’s Ashville College have been making scrubs and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for two of the town’s care homes.

The six ‘Busy Bees’ have set up a volunteer group to make the items for Heath Lodge, on Pannal Ash Road, and Berwick Grange, on Wetherby Road.

Additionally, the community-spirited staff members have also been creating storytime materials for the Woodlands children’s ward at Harrogate District Hospital! This follows Ashville College itself donating around 200 pairs of safety glasses from its science department to frontline hospital staff treating patients with coronavirus.

Read the full story here