Businesses in Sheffield city centre say they have been hit hard by cancellations this week, with more and more people testing positive for Covid and having to self isolate.
The Government has also advised people to ‘prioritise’ who they mingle with ahead of Christmas in a bid to keep infection rates down, leading to party cancellations and unattended bookings.
Kane Yeardley, who owns True North Brewing Co, runs 12 venues across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
His two Sheffield city centre venues, The Forum and Common Room on Devonshire Street, are usually very busy in the run up to Christmas – but he told The Star things have not been the same in the centre this year.
He said: “We have had a lot of cancellations this week which has been very painful, but a lot of walk-ins have given us a nice, steady atmosphere. It has been much quieter than usual in town, though.”
Kane has a number of other venues across Sheffield, in various neighbourhoods like Crookes, Kelham Island and Nether Edge, which he says have been busier this festive season.
He added: “The city centre is quiet but the suburbs have been really busy. I think at the moment people are choosing to go to local places where they feel safer, so town has taken quite a hit, but our suburban venues have been going strong.”
West Street also appeared to be quiet today, Friday, December 17, with no signs of drunken Mad Friday revellers spilling out of the bars.
Another area of the centre which would usually be busy, Trippet Lane, has also been hit by cancellations.
Owner of Trippets Lounge Bar, Debbie Shaw, said: “Today has been quiet, very quiet. We don’t tend to do lots and lots of daytime trade anyway, but the whole of Trippet Lane has been so quiet today and the pubs look empty.
“We have got one of our two rooms booked out tonight, but we are doing all seating and asking people to wear masks.
"Everything that is going on at the moment is really affecting footfall here because people don’t seem to be venturing into town. They seem to be staying in their immediate environment to feel more comfortable.”
But one area of the city which does seem to have had a positive Mad Friday experience is Kelham Island.
The trendy district has been busy throughout the day, with pubs and bars experiencing a steady stream of customers.
Danny Tennant, barman at Alder on Percy Street, says the bar is gearing up for a popular and exciting evening.
He told The Star: “Since opening at 12 we have been really busy and we expect to be all day.
"We have put extra staff on, a bouncer and have a big stock of lager.”
The Government is advising people to continue taking lateral flow tests before meeting friends and family over Christmas and to follow the latest guidance.