What you need to know as York reopens

What you need to know as York reopens


We asked York BID (Business Improvement District) how York shops, and the centre as a whole, have adapted to opening as the Covid-19 lockdown is lifting. Here’s the guest blog they did for us. 

It’s still the York we know and love – but things will be different.

This Monday, 15th June heralded a big change for many – some shop workers returned to work for the first time in months and people can return to the city to shop for items other than the essentials.

York BID has been working with our partners and businesses to make the city as safe as possible for visitors to return.

New measures because of Covid-19 have been put in place to keep people safe and socially distanced, and the city clean.

So, here’s everything you need to know about getting back into the city, and what you can expect: 

What changes will I see?

Some streets are becoming pedestrian zones between 10.30am and 5pm to provide residents more space to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier:

Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square), King’s SquareChurch StreetColliergateBlake StreetSt Helen’s Square & Lendal 

Emergency vehicles and the Dial-a-Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.

Some narrow streets, like the Shambles, will become ‘one way’. Please look out for the new signs and follow them. 

Everyone will be asked to follow simple but essential guidelines:

  • ‘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

Individual retailers are being encouraged to make hand sanitisers available for customers, and most of them will have it available to use. It is also a good idea to carry your own personal hand sanitiser with you.

Not all retailers will re-open on the 15 June – some will open at a later date, and some will be opening with reduced hours, or only on specific days. It’s best to check online before travelling into the city centre if you want to visit a specific shop. Shambles Market will be open.

On York BID Instagram stories we’re also sharing information on which businesses are open.

What will happen inside the shops?

Each store will have its own rules but you can expect:

  • Hand sanitiser, screens and other safety measures to be in place
  • One-way systems
  • Social distancing
  • A maximum number of people inside at any one time
  • Changing rooms may be closed
  • Cafés in larger stores will be closed
  • Toilets in larger stores will be closed
  • Policies such as no in-store returns

Guidelines will differ from shop to shop and outlets like jewellers and shoe shops will have their own rules. Shop workers are not required to wear face covering but may choose to do so. 

Getting around

Public transport is running but customers need to be aware that space is greatly reduced on buses, due to social distancing rules. If a bus drives past, it is likely it has reached it’s reduced capacity.

First Bus which operate Park & Ride are running a reduced timetable, and are not operating all routes, so check their website before travel.

Current government advice is that, to reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try to avoid peak times, leave plenty of time for your journey, and wear a face covering.

Taxis will be operating from ranks in the city centre.

If you’re driving, all council operated car parks will be open.

From 15th June, free parking will be available ONLY for NHS workers.

Where can I eat?

Dining-in is not an option at the moment, but many restaurants, cafes and bars are successfully operating take away services.  There are street food kiosks at Shambles Market food court and the Coppergate Centre. 

It is anticipated that food and drink outlets may fully reopen from 4 July.


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.

Public toilets are located at Silver Street, Coppergate Shopping, Nunnery Lane, St George’s Field, Rougier Street, St Leonards Place (no baby change) and Union Terrace. 

Green spaces

The Museum Gardens remain closed but the Minster’s Deans Park is open. The usual rules apply – follow social distancing, remove personal litter, no alcohol, ball games, or smoking and dogs are not permitted in the Dean’s Park.

Waste Collection

Waste collection and street cleaning services are still being affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Please take any litter home with you to help keep the city clean.

The York BID Street Rangers will be carrying out their patrols as usual, providing a reassuring presence on the streets.

Be Kind

This is new for us all so we are urging everyone to be responsible, safe, kind and patient. Local businesses are really looking forward to seeing you again, so enjoy your visit!

All this information is accurate at the time of writing, but please keep up to date with the latest changes and developments by heading to the government’s dedicated Covid-19 website, www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The York BID website: www.theyorkbid.com

The City of York council website: www.york.gov.uk

Useful travel information: https://www.itravelyork.info/

Where to park in York: https://www.york.gov.uk/directory/8/parking-directory


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