Mid-December move into Tier 2 is Sheffield publicans' last hope of salvaging Christmas

Sheffield publicans are praying for a mid-December move into Tier 2 as their last chance to bring in vital cash after weeks of enforced closure and the worst year on record.

Monday, 7th December 2020, 4:45 pm

It is their busiest period and would allow some to honour lucrative Christmas dinner bookings, according to Nick Simmonite, chair of Sheffield hospitality forum Unight, which has 45 members in the city centre.

It could even save a few, he added.

On Friday, the infection rate in Sheffield had fallen to 165.2 per 100,000 of the population. There are 12 areas where it is less than 100. This compares to a national average of about 150.

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Nick Simmonite at the Frog and Parrot

Pubs have been closed since October 24 when Sheffield was placed into Tier 3.

Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, will decide whether Sheffield can move down on December 16.

In Tier 2 pubs can open but with no household mixing and drinkers must have a ‘substantial meal’.

Mr Simmonite said: “Across the city publicans are praying for Tier 2 in the run up to Christmas.

“It would give them some income and it might save some. There needs to be a very careful look at the figures.

“It would be nice to get a bit of notice so we could get some stock in, but we are ready to react to a Tier 2 announcement.

“We’ve introduced so many measures the pub is a safer environment than masses of families mingling at home.”

The government is permitting three families to mix for five days over Christmas.

Many fear this will lead to a spike in cases - and potentially a month-long ‘lockdown 3’ in January or February to get the rates back down.

Mr Simmonite said his pub, the Frog and Parrot on Division Street was selling beer through deliveries, click and collect and from a table at the front door.

The income was minimal and it was more about keeping the pub and its cellar systems ticking over, he added.

“We can’t wave a magic wand and go into Tier 0 but we have got some loyal customers who have done everything we’ve asked of them since July and they are itching to get back. Otherwise it’s going to be a miserable Christmas for everyone.”

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