Sheffield venues put their own rules in place as 'Freedom Day' ends legal Covid restrictions

Four Sheffield venues are keeping some coronavirus precautions in place despite the Government lifting restrictions on what has been called ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday (July 19).

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 7:00 am

Dan Bates, chief executive at Sheffield’s Lyceum and Crucible theatres, said: “Today is a good step forward for us all at Sheffield Theatres and we have decided to keep a number of the safety protocols we previously had in place for the time being.

"The safety of our team and our audiences has remained of paramount importance, so we are encouraging our audiences to still wear coverings unless they are exempt, and to check in at our venues for the NHS Test and Trace scheme. All the latest information about visiting us can be found at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.

This week is the final week of Victoria Wood’s Talent in the Crucible and we have been thrilled by the responses we’ve received from audiences.

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Students queue at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to get their Covid vaccinations

"Our autumn season of shows are now on sale and it feels like Sheffield audiences are really excited about the return of theatre across all our spaces in the months ahead.

Ian Wild, CEO of the Showroom Workstation cinema on Paternoster Row, said: "The Government may be easing many coronavirus restrictions but the safety of our employees and customers remains our priority.

"We have carefully considered the new guidelines and reviewed our risk assessments, alongside listening to our team and visitors’ feedback.

“We will be keeping the majority of our safety practices in place and introducing a few small changes to help gradually increase our capacity and efficiency of service.

The National Videogame Museum, pictured here before lockdown, is keeping some Covid-safe restrictions in place

“Changes at the Showroom include:

“Moving from 2 metres to 1 metre+ social distancing

“Increasing capacity in our cinemas from 25% to 50%

“Removing table service in our café bar.

Lesley Ellerby at the Showroom cinema in Sheffield, just ahead of the venue reopening in May

“Our staff will continue to wear face masks. While it's not mandatory, we encourage anyone visiting us to wear a face covering and use the NHS test and trace app to help us keep our employees and customers as safe as possible.

“In the cinema, we will now be operating a checkerboard-style seating system. There will still be two empty seats between one party and the next, with no-one sat directly behind or in front of each customer or group.

“Essential measures we will be keeping in place include:

“Hand sanitiser stations situated throughout the building

“Additional cleaning

“Free online booking

“Contactless payments

“Only circulating fresh air

“The complete list of our updated safety practices can be found on our website, www.showroomworkstation.org.uk, and we will be continually reviewing and assessing these measures throughout the summer.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all our customers for their support during what has been an extremely challenging 17 months.

"We've only been able to remain open for a small portion of this time, but it is now fanatic to welcome audiences and customers back into the venue. We hope the measures we are keeping in place will help to reassure audiences wanting to return to the cinema during these uncertain times.”

It was a similar picture at the National Videogame Museum in Angel Street, Sheffield. Marketing and comunications manager Conor Clarke said: “Freedom Day might not mean much for us at the National Videogame Museum!

“After careful consideration with our staff and with our visitors, we've decided to keep most of our Covid precautions, including ensuring all visitors wear masks, stick in bubbles, and keeping our visitor capacity small.

“Since we opened back in May, we've received lots of feedback from visitors that say they've felt comfortable and safe whilst visiting, and as such we want to continue that over this summer.

“Furthermore, a lot of our Customer Service have only had a single vaccine, or are continuing to shield vulnerable family members.

“We've not had a positive Covid case at the museum yet and are taking steps to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. Also, regardless of the possible public health concerns, if our staff had to self-isolate, that could cause major operational and financial concerns for the museum.

“We do hope that this summer sees lots of game fans and families visit us at the museum! We've added in extra slots for visitors as we're open every day from July 22 to the end of August, whilst keeping the capacity of each session the same.

"Visitor numbers have been quite busy (until this last weekend, but we think that's because people were enjoying the sun!) Many visitors have been very understanding and aware of the need to still be vigilant and careful.”

Museum website: thenvm.org