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Sunday Email: Issue 13

Good afternoon

The anticipated relaxations to the lockdown restrictions were confirmed last week and will come into force from 4 July. The government claims that this is being done in a way that continues to protect communities and the NHS (though news about many public gatherings where people have ignored all semblance of social distancing, would make you wonder). The aim of the easing of restrictions is to begin to return our lives to as near normal as possible, for as many people as possible, and as quickly and fairly as possible…in order to safeguard livelihoods. Despite the easing of rules, the most important thing is that we all continue to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save lives. It will be interesting to see if this difficult balance between health and economic activity can work without undoing the significant effort we all put in over the last three months.

The government acknowledges that although fatalities and infection rates continue to fall, the dangers of Coronavirus are as real and deadly as ever. The virus is still in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially, so the continued easing of restrictions is seen as acceptable at this time. The measures set out will be kept under constant review and if people begin to act recklessly, which could impact on the transmission of Coronavirus, restrictions will have to be implemented again. So, in a way, the responsibility lies firmly on our own shoulders.

The “Shopping” and “Take away” food information continue to be presented in a separate Word attachment and this week I have also added the “Places to Visit” section to the attachment. This helps cut the size of the Sunday email and means you only need open the attachment if you have reason to access the information it contains.

As usual, get in touch with me if you have any news or information that you think village residents might like to hear about.


07785 223707

Lockdown relaxations from 4 July

The latest announcement from the government means that from 4 July:

  • You can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
  • When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
  • Those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with.
  • Additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open – but certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher will not be allowed to reopen yet.
  • Other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open.
  • You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing).
  • It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law. Police will have the power to break up groups larger than 30, apart from these exceptions.

Moving forward, from 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep themselves and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, the government trusts people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.

These changes will reopen much of society and the economy, but it is essential that everyone in the country goes about their lives in a manner which reduces the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure, or using public services. When you leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home. You should continue to avoid close contact and remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes. You should wash your hands regularly. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone safe.

Meeting family and friends (many apologies if there is some repetition here, but it is important)

It has been difficult for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. That is why the government has enabled people to see them more, as society and the economy start to open up more. To avoid risks of transmission and stay as safe as possible, you should always maintain social distancing with people you do not live with – indoors and outdoors. You should only have close social contact with others if you are in a support bubble with them. You should:

  • Only gather indoors with members of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  • Only gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households or in larger groups if everyone is from up to two households only.
  • Only gather in slightly larger groups of up to 30 for major life events, such as weddings.
  • Only gather in groups of more than 30 for specific set of circumstances that will be set out in law.
  • Only visit businesses and venues in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) or with a group of six people from different households if outdoors.
  • Not interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending these places with even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.
  • Try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives – the more people you have interactions with, the more chances we give the virus to spread.
  • Not hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing when gathering in the group sizes advised.
  • Only stay overnight away from your home in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household).
  • When asked, provide your contact details to a business so that you can be contacted as needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

If you or someone in your household or support bubble are showing Coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your household or support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble should then isolate.

Businesses and venues

As of 4 July, many of the businesses and venues that were previously required to stay closed to the public will be able to reopen. All businesses and venues will be required to follow secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. For the time being, certain businesses and venues will still be required by law to stay closed to the public. These include: nightclubs, casinos, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, indoor play areas including soft-play, spas, nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons, massage, tattoo and piercing parlours, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities, swimming pools and water parks, exhibition and conference centres.

Visiting public places

You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish. At all times, you should follow the guidance on group sizes and the guidance on staying safe outside your home. If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead. It is not possible to social distance during car journeys and transmission of Coronavirus can definitely occur in this context. So avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place, and must wear a face covering. You should plan ahead to ensure that, where you are visiting places like National Parks, beaches or other visitor attractions, you have checked that they are open and appropriately prepared for visitors. It is important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.

Going to work

People who can work from home should continue to do so. Your employee must decide, in consultation with you, whether it is viable for you to continue working from home. Where it is decided that workers should go into their place of work employees will have had to complete a risk assessment and include details of actions taken to manage the risks of transmission. These will keep you as safe as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods. In particular, in your workplace, employers must ensure you can socially distance from other workers, or have robust mitigation measures where distancing is not possible. At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household (or support bubble), shows coronavirus symptoms. You should not go into work if you are showing symptoms, or if you or any of your household (or support bubble) are self-isolating.

Clinically vulnerable people

If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. Although you can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene. Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • Aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis.
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure, chronic kidney disease or chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis.
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy.
  • diabetes.
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets).
  • Seriously overweight (with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above).
  • Pregnant women.

Those who are ‘shielding’

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions and who have been advised to ‘shield’. The government is relaxing advice to those shielding in two stages – as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low:

From 6 July:

  • those shielding can spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). Extra care should be taken to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace.
  • those shielding no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household.
  • those who are shielding will be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, as long as one of the households in the bubble is a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18). All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to maintain social distancing. This follows the same rules on support bubbles that apply to the wider population now.

From 1 August:

Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people will move in line with advice to those who are clinically vulnerable. In practice, this means staying at home as much as possible, and if people do go out, taking particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household (unless you are in a support bubble) and robustly practising good, frequent hand washing. The relaxation of the shielding guidance will mean people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised they can go to work or to the shops, as long as they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible and their workplace is COVID-19 Secure. Support for those shielding will continue to the end of July so that people can plan for these changes.

Corridors to the sun!

The government is planning to relax its travel quarantine rules for some countries, including Portugal, France, Italy, Greece and Spain. It’s expected there’ll be an announcement tomorrow (29 June) that "travel corridors" will be created so that people travelling in both directions between two countries would not have to self-isolate after they travel (at present, anyone arriving back in the UK has to quarantine for 14 days).

The first travel corridors could come into force on 4 July, although that date has yet to be confirmed. Even if certain routes are exempt, the travel quarantine for people arriving from other destinations will remain in place. A senior aviation source said that the quarantine could remain throughout the summer for anyone arriving from countries which do not have a travel corridor with the UK.

Daily Press Conferences Scrapped

The daily Downing Street press conference on Coronavirus has been stopped. Boris Johnson led the final regular briefing last Tuesday, flanked by chief advisers Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, who have been regular participants. From now on televised briefings will be given on an "ad hoc" basis to "coincide with significant announcements," Downing Street said. There have been 92 briefings, and two national addresses by the prime minister.

Test and Trace

The position relating to Test and Trace is unchanged, but the information is important and remains relevant so this paragraph is again repeated, with only minor change, from previous weeks. Contact tracers are now busily tracking down people who have been near those testing positive for Coronavirus. Their role is to ask infected persons to list all the people with whom they’ve recently been in ‘prolonged’ contact. Those people will then be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days, whether sick or not. The person asked to isolate will not be tested and the rest of the person’s household need not isolate. Anyone who develops symptoms of Coronavirus – a persistent cough, fever or a sudden loss of taste or sense of smell – must isolate for seven days and the rest of their household for 14 days. Everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online or telephone 119 to arrange a test. If the test is negative, everyone in the household can go back to normal. But if positive, the NHS Test and Trace or local public health will get in touch via text, email or phone to discuss where the person has been and with whom they have been in contact. The requirement to self-isolate isn’t enshrined in law, but complying is described as a civic duty. If NHS Test and Trace calls you by telephone, the service will be using a single phone number 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is

For more detailed information about Trace and Trace, please see the government’s website –

The Test & Trace App

Considerable effort and resources are now being applied to the development of the app promoted by tech giants Apple and Google. It remains uncertain when even the app will be ready for use.

Topcliffe’s two pubs

  • The Swan will be opening for drinks only on Saturday 4 July at 4pm. There’ll be no standing or sitting at the bar and customers will be required to book a table in advance by ringing 01845 595185. Landlord George Lamberts said: “The Swan is only a small country pub and it won’t be easy to accommodate many customers at the same time, especially as we have to maintain strict social distancing. The booking arrangement is an attempt to ensure we can meet demand and seat customers who get in touch with us in advance. We’d rather not be turning people away, but I regret it might come to that, especially if people just turn up. We’ll be monitoring the situation and will review the arrangements as necessary.”
  • The Angel has announced that all of its facilities – bars, restaurant, gardens and rooms – will reopen for business at 4pm on Wednesday 15 July. There’ll be more details soon about how to book meals and they’ll be included in next week’s email. Appropriate safety arrangements will be in place.

St Columbas Church

To date, St Columba’s hasn’t opened its doors for private prayer because to do so would mean having someone in attendance during opening hours to direct visitors, undertake constant cleaning and maintain the highest standard of safety. The Parish does not have enough people to cover this.

The government has announced that churches can open for worship (but not other gatherings or social events or meetings) from 4 July but with a number of important restrictions that must be followed but the church is still awaiting detailed guidance on which to base advice to parishes. In the meantime, and following a meeting of our bishops and archdeacons on Friday last, the Church Wardens have been advised that they must not feel that they must reopen the church until they are confident they can do so safely.

What is pretty clear is that even when we do open there will be ongoing restrictions – for example, it will be some time before any singing is permitted, there will be no scope for “social interaction” or mingling before or after services, and there are likely to be limits on both numbers attending and the length of services.. It may also be the case that all-age worship in the church may need to be rethought for the next few months while there continue to be limitations on singing, physical distancing, touching shared materials and interaction between households.

As the Church of England begins to plan for weddings returning, the church hopes to publish suitably-updated ‘Weddings FAQs’ quite soon.

Toilets open for your convenience

It’s certainly a relief that public toilets are slowly re-opening. In Thirsk the toilets in Millgate are now open 10am-4pm every day. The toilets in Tesco are also open. Many of the open-air visitor attractions listed in the attachment to this email have reopened their loos. These include Beningborough Hall, Fountains Abbey, Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Mount Grace Priory and the visitor centre at the top of Sutton Bank (daily 10am-3pm).

Plans for NHS birthday celebration

Celebrations to mark the NHS’s 72nd birthday will take place over the weekend of 4 and 5 July will culminate in an epic pause for applause at 5pm on Sunday the 5th. This huge country-wide coming together will give the nation the chance to thank all those who have been helping us through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all. Everybody will be encouraged to stop what they’re doing and join with others – following social distancing advice of course – in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going. Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months. It will be a wholly inclusive occasion, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.

What’s planned:

• On the evening of Saturday July 4 everyone is asked to place a light in their window in remembrance of all who have died during the pandemic.

• At 5pm on Sunday 5 July there’ll be a one-off clap for carers – the biggest yet, because this time it is to say thank you to everybody. Afterwards neighbours are encouraged to have a drink – alcohol or just a cup of tea –

to toast those who have helped us through the pandemic…and ourselves for making the lockdown work so effectively.

• Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm on 5th as people across the country pause what they’re doing to think of others.

• Public buildings will be lit up in NHS blue, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch.

Hawks temporary return to RAF Linton-on-Ouse

Some flying exercises have recommenced at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Tutor aircraft of the Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron are back in the air and, until 20 July, six Hawk jet aircraft will take to the skies for training purposes. Flying hours are 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Once the Hawk aircraft depart 20 July it is expected that the airfield will return to routine Tutor flying until their final departure in December 2020, when the RAF base closes.

Asenby Bus Stop Library

The library has been replenished with about 40 new books, and some of the older ones have been taken away ready for the charity shops. As we seem to be relaxing restrictions and libraries will soon be reopening, the organisers are happy if anyone would like to take any of the books for personal retention: it will save disposing of them once the bus stop library isn’t needed anymore. They’d also be grateful if future donations could be restricted to books and children’s games.

Reminder about drive-in cinema dates

There are two opportunities to go to a drive in cinema in the coming weeks – first at Harrogate’s Great Yorkshire Showground on 11 and 12 July and then at Ripon Racecourse on 18 and 19 July. Social distancing measures will be in place. The films will be shown on large screens using LED technology, and cars will be spaced out to enable everyone to see. The sound for the film will come through the car stereo system, with everyone tuning into a specific FM frequency. Portaloos will be installed at both sites. More details and bookings via

Thirsk Community Library

Thirsk Community Library continues to offer its members the opportunity to request books by email or telephone. The library, which is operated by volunteers, can only offer books that are currently in stock. There’s an online booking form on which you can indicate your favourite author/genre, which allows the volunteers to put together a selection of books that hopefully might suit. There’s a delivery service for anyone unable to get to the library in person. New library members are very welcome. You can sign up over the telephone or online. If you choose the latter, please follow it up with an email to alert the volunteers to your registration.

The library is also offering a printing and photocopying service for anyone in need. Simply contact the volunteers and they’ll do their best to help. Contact details are: and the email address is Telephone: 01609 534589 (this is a direct line to Thirsk Library) and Facebook: . Opening hours Monday, Thursday and Friday 10-12 and 2-4; Tuesday 2-4; Wednesday Closed; Saturday 10-12.

Fly Tipping Survey

North Yorkshire Police are doing a piece of work around fly tipping, trying to identify how it effects rural communities, how we report it and also what we can learn from the exercise about those involved in the offence. The first area being looked at is the Hambleton area which, in particular, has suffered from a number of fly tipping of spent cannabis plants. The Police would like as many residents as possible to complete their survey.

Bin Collections

Hambleton (Topcliffe):

• Recycling and green bins – Thursdays 2 July, 16 July and 30 July.

• Refuse – Mondays 6 July and 20 July.

Harrogate (Asenby):

• Refuse – Mondays 29 June, 13 July and 27 July

• Garden waste – Thursday 2 July, 16 July and 30 July.

• Recycling – Mondays 6 July, 20 July.


• ‘Top Residents’ and ‘Topcliffe & Asenby Village Hall’ Facebook sites have lots of useful information and chat about what’s going on during lockdown. Asenby’s community Facebook page ‘Asenby Institute Community

Space’ is keeping villagers well informed and in touch with each other.

• Our two Parish Councils are not meeting during the crisis. However, our Parish Councillors and Parish Clerks remain available to deal with any urgent matters. Details are on the two parish council websites – and

• Freecycle Stall – every Saturday and Sunday, the Burnett family, who live in Pear Tree Cottage on Long Street in Topcliffe, organise a Freecycle Stall so that other villagers can pick up books, magazines, toys and more.

Feel free to pop by the stall, but don’t forget to observe social distancing when you’re there…and appropriate hygiene when handling the items.

• Asenby Bus Shelter Library – has become a ‘community hub’ with village library and games exchange. Please note that users are required to wear gloves and should sanitise books before leaving them or picking them up.

• Heather Allon organises a magazine and book loan scheme in the village. Those who are housebound or in lockdown who would like to be involved should telephone her on 01845 595080.

• Sowerby Waste & Recycling Centre – the site is now back to operation at its normal hours and days – 8:30am to 5pm six days a week. Closed on Wednesdays.

• Rural Arts activities: find out more about the arts and craft activities on offer from Rural Arts – email Sorcha McCabe at or call 01845 526536 and leave her a message on the answerphone.

That’s all until next Sunday. Stay alert, keep safe and keep well.