Meadowhall Oasis staff left 'trapped and scared' as food hall stays open for takeaways

Meadowhall in Sheffield remains open despite many stores having closed due to coronavirus and photos showing the usually bustling shopping centre resembling a ghost town.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 1:04 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 2:18 pm

Now a worker at the centre’s popular Oasis Dining Quarter, where outlets have been offering a takeaway-only service since pubs, cafes and restaurants were told to close on Friday, has spoken out about how he and his colleagues feel ‘trapped, scared and uncertain’.

The employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said tables and chairs had been removed to prevent customers gathering to eat but staff were still scared for their safety at a time when people are being urged to practice social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Stacked chairs at Meadowhall's Oasis Dining Quarter, which remains open for takeaways only

He told how following the announcement the dining area would remain open for takeaways ‘tears were seen by many in what is an emotional time’.

“Meadowhall has stated it will refuse to close unless the Government says so, athough more than 80 per cent of the retail stores have closed,” he added.

“We are left trapped, scared and uncertain about what lies around the corner, and we just hope Meadowhall sees reason regarding the Oasis Dining Quarter.”

A customer notice at Meadowhall's Oasis Dining Quarter

“It is a very stressful and emotional time with the majority of food outlets left without any childcare as the schools undertake their closures.

“As staff members we have been informed about nothing and are left in the dark as we have to check social media pages for the latest. I am a manager within my store and still I have to discover this information online.”

A spokeswoman for British Land, which owns Meadowhall, said it had followed government advice regarding coronavirus and would continue to do so.

“In terms of staff working in the food and beverage outlets it’s really a decision for the operators themselves,” she added.

“We are following government guidelines and are supportive of any of our occupiers who elect to remain open.

“We are making sure everything remains very clean and we have staff in place to ensure people remain safe and secure.

“We have a responsibility to our community to ensure they have somewhere to go for everything they need.”