Popular Sheffield pub to be closed for 'Freedom Day' after staff told to isolate

A popular Sheffield pub will be closed for so-called ‘Freedom Day’ because so many of its staff have been told to isolate.

By Robert Cumber
Saturday, 17th July 2021, 10:31 am

The Raven Inn, on Palm Street, Walkley, announced yesterday that due to the ‘majority’ of its employees having to isolate it had ‘made the difficult decision to close’ and would reopen next Saturday, July 24.

“We will miss you all and this wonderful weather,” it added.

Monday, July 19, has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ as it marks the end of the legal requirement to wear face masks and observe social distancing, and the lifting of the cap on gatherings.

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The Raven Inn, in Walkley, Sheffield, has been forced to close temporarily due to the number of staff isolating (pic: Google)

Many publicans had welcomed the end of social distancing requirements, in particular, which had limited capacity and hit their income.

But the number of people being pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app and told to isolate has put many plans to celebrate ‘Freedom Day’ on hold, with staff shortages also leading to rail cancellations and forcing numerous businesses to close.

Despite the legal requirement for face coverings and social distancing being lifted, many shops, pubs and restaurants have also said they plan to keep such safety measures in place in line with government guidance.

The Raven Inn’s announcement came just days after its landlord, John Lowry, had welcomed the impending removal of restrictions.

He said then that he and his team were excited to bring down some of the extra furniture the pub would be able to accommodate from Monday after it had been left languishing in his office for months.

"We’re looking forward to it, and will be approaching things carefully… we’re going to relax things while maintaining the good processes we’ve learned along with the ones we’ve always had,” he added.

He said at the time that customers could opt to wear face coverings if they chose and that he would keep his mask with him to wear when he felt it was appropriate.

Latest figures show that nearly 7,000 people across Sheffield were pinged by the NHS app during the first week of July and told to self-isolate for 10 days, with that number believed to have risen considerably in the days since.