As we count down to the next announcement on the further easing of lockdown restrictions, businesses are doing all they can to make us feel safe whilst we enjoy all of the places we have missed for so long. Whilst the decision still remains uncertain in terms of how soon the next phase of easing restrictions will be rolled-out, today we’re taking a look at how the people and places of York are working hard to keep us all safe in the meantime, as well as what we can look forward to in the hopefully not too distant future! 

York’s theatres are one of the venues whose reopening has been the most anticipated. With the performance and arts industry facing a monumental blow as a result of the pandemic, it goes without saying that theatre-fanatics and annual visitors alike are eager to be able to support them properly when they re-open for good. 

At Joseph Rowntree Theatre, the cast and crew have been keeping themselves well and truly in the game by regularly performing for their ‘Joseph Rowntree Virtual Theatre’, which has allowed theatre fans to enjoy the performances in the comfort of their own home. But it won’t be long until we can see the actors tread the boards in person once again; the committee at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre have put together a programme for 2021-2022, and audiences can now look forward to a performance of Agatha Christie’s ‘Spider’s Web’ in September, directed by Howard Ella. Later in the year, the theatre will perform one of their famous rollicking romp pantomimes, Dick Wittington. 

For families, sport and leisure facilities have been sorely missed, and swimming has been an activity which has left a lot of people unsure of just how safe it is at this point. But, we can assure you that swimming is well and truly allowed and sport and leisure facilities are doing all that they can to ensure the safety of all water babies! At numerous swimming facilities across York, including Yearsley Swimming Pool, York Leisure Centre, Energise Leisure Centre, Burnholme Sports Centre and more, punters are welcomed back to enjoy the swimming facilities safely by pre-booking one of their limited-capacity swim slots and by changing at home and arriving activity-ready due to reduced capacity in changing rooms. 

When it comes to getting around the city, be reassured that York’s public transport has your back for safety and hygiene. First Bus’ handy app allows you to use their ‘space checker’ feature, which means you can check how busy the bus is before it arrives! Using a simple traffic light system of green, yellow and red, it’s easy to pick a bus and route that is less crowded and ultimately, a lot safer; the feature can be accessed through their app or on their website. They’ve got your back! 

For the music lovers, our beloved live music events are slowly but surely making their way back into our ears, and let’s be honest, our hearts! At venues such as the National Centre for Early Music, Fulford Arms, and more seated, limited capacity and even outdoor music events have been taking place whilst we wait for further updates on any potential easing of restrictions. All venues are making music-lovers feel safe and welcome with distanced seating, or masked standing, reduced crowd capacity, sanitising stations, etc. 

At the National Centre for Early Music, the venue will host one of their first non-online gigs since before Christmas. “Songs Under the Skies” is a series of open-air acoustic concerts performed throughout June. Seating will be in marked out areas (pods) with 2m spacing between each pod. You may book a pod for 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. More indoor, limited capacity music events are expected throughout June and July at NCEM.


Images: Burnholme Sports Centre, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, National Centre for Early Music