The Government recently announced that people can now spend more time outdoors and travel to exercise in the open air. This means that Ryedale is experiencing more visitors.

Some residents are asking for our market towns to stay closed to visitors, with others asking us to open up the car parks and toilets. It's a difficult balancing act and we'll continue to listen to feedback and take into account the opposing and differing viewpoints.

It's vital that we are as pragmatic as we can be - respecting the freedom people have to exercise for longer and more frequently - yet, it's important to us that we encourage visitors to Ryedale to respect our citizens and locations.

We're committed to hearing the views of the community in order to get the delicate balance right. We'll continue to keep learning and working together through the community connect meetings.

In order to get the balance right, throughout last weekend we had community officers out and about across Ryedale, just keeping a watchful eye. That way we were ready to respond if any problem occurred as people enjoyed more time outside to exercise. Our approach worked well and we have our officers out and about again this coming weekend.

A busy Bank Holiday weekend is expected in our market towns and beauty spots, and we are hoping to work in the same constructive way. We want to remind people to 'protect each other, protect Ryedale' to ensure that our communities feel safe.

Our council team will be out and about to provide reassurance, address complaints when they arise and seek harmonious resolutions by working with North Yorkshire Police where appropriate.

We're aware of issues with some bikers not staying 2m apart in Helmsley and we will have our team on site there to address this. What's more, we've been putting up posters in our car parks, reminding people of the need to respect social distancing.

We're stencilling pavements in busy areas to mark 2m distances and will be cordoning off some areas of Helmsley car park to ensure that 2m spaces are adhered to.

We will be opening toilets in Helmsley and Pickering over the weekend too, so that we don't have any issues with visitors using outside spaces. Posters will be going up inside the toilets, to remind people of the need to stay safe by staying 2m apart.

In addition, we've also put out messages on social media and have worked with the local press to let visitors know that we welcome responsible visitors back to our market towns and beauty spots in a safe way.

We welcome feedback from the public and our approach is under constant review.

Social distancing is essential, and, working closely with the police, we will do what we can to make sure it is observed.

Safer, Stronger Communities

Ryedale District Council