Coronavirus: 'We are teetering on the edge of some real issues', says North Yorkshire County Council boss
Scarborough borough residents are being urged to "pull together" to avoid local lockdowns following an alarming rise in coronavirus cases.
North Yorkshire's Resilience Forum is making the rallying call, saying the county is seeing "big and worrying" rises in positive tests in a number of towns, including Whitby.
It says the county is facing a "pivotal moment".
According to the latest Government figures, there have been 645 cases of coronavirus in the Scarborough borough so far.
The forum says there have been increases across the county, but particularly in the Selby, Scarborough and Harrogate areas.
The forum says only by sticking consistently to social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing face coverings will North Yorkshire avoid further increases in the number of positive tests.
Richard Flinton, forum's chairman, said the county is "teetering on the edge of some real issues".
"People across the county have made tremendous efforts over the last six months to observe the safety measures to keep themselves, their families and neighbours safe," he said.
"We are extremely grateful for that – but now we are teetering on the edge of some real issues, with positive cases rising particularly it seems following weekend socialising in some areas.
“We need to remember the basics and stick to them. We must follow the simple, straightforward safety messages.
“The Government is bringing in the new ‘rule of six’ from Monday, but our message is let’s be doing that now, let’s not wait until Monday, let’s be sure that we are applying that way of thinking and behaving right now!”
Like the rest of the country, North Yorkshire has seen a significant rise in cases in the last week, particularly among young people.
Mr Flinton added: “We are not saying there should be lockdowns or that businesses should close, but we do need to be at a heightened level of awareness and take strong precautions as we go about our daily lives.
“If we all do that, we can hope to start to see a tailing off in the escalating figures we have at the moment.
“There is no doubt we are at a pivotal moment. Please, play your part.
"For the sake of our parents, grandparents, the many vulnerable people trying to resume some level of freedom in this new norm – for the sake of our economy and businesses – please stick to the guidance and follow the simple precautions that we know work the best.
“Most recent cases in the county appear to be among younger people, those under 30. If you have a young person living at home with you, talk to them about the risks, not just to themselves but to others.”
North Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector Charlotte Bloxham, silver lead for the North Yorkshire Police Covid-19 response, urged people to adhere to the Government's new 'rule of six' law which bans social gatherings of seven and over.
“While enforcement powers will start from Monday, we would encourage everyone to implement the ‘rule of six’ straight away and we would particularly encourage those in the most affected age groups to consider the responsibility they carry when they do socialise," she said.
"While they themselves may not be suffering any sign of illness, they can carry the virus and infect others with it. So please ensure you maintain the two-metre distance and wear a face covering when needed."