Sheffield pub chain issues 'Freedom Day' update setting out all the changes from Monday, July 19

A Sheffield brewery with a number of pubs across the city has issued an update ahead of so-called ‘Freedom Day’ about what to expect.
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True North Brew Co, which runs pubs including the Forum Kitchen + Bar in Sheffield city centre, The Broadfield on Abbeydale Road and the Riverside Kelham, says its staff will continue to wear masks and customers will be encouraged to do so when coming into contact with anyone from outside their group. It added that ‘we expect everybody to respect personal choice in this area’.

Some of the company’s pubs will also be sticking with table service only for the time being but customers will be allowed to order at the bar at most of its venues and the firm will be adding extra tables and letting larger groups visit as the rule of six is lifted.

The Riverside Kelham is among the pubs run by True North Brew CoThe Riverside Kelham is among the pubs run by True North Brew Co
The Riverside Kelham is among the pubs run by True North Brew Co
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The chain added that its staff would be offered a voucher to spend in its venues once they are fully vaccinated, as an incentive for them to get both jabs.

Monday, July 19, has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ as it is when many of the last remaining Covid restrictions are due to be lifted, including the legal requirement for social distancing and face masks in pubs and other indoor venues.

But with a surge in the number of Covid cases and hospital admissions rising, many businesses are taking a cautious approach.

In a statement published on Friday, True North said: “As legal restrictions are lifted and the responsibility of how to keep our staff and customers safe is shifted to us we need to review our operations and put in what we believe to be the best systems and processes.

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“At the forefront of our minds is the personal responsibility we all still have to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 particularly at a time when cases are continuing to rise and a proportion of the population are still yet to receive both jabs. With a reasonably young workforce, it's incredibly important that we keep measures in place which will protect them.”

It said that 10 of its sites would allow customers to order at the bar again, with table service and ordering via an app also available at those venues, but others would be sticking with table service only for now as it was ‘not the right time’ to make the change there.

True North said it would still be taking bookings but would now have even more space for bookings.

The measures in place across all its venues include:

‘High standards’ of cleaning remaining in place and hand sanitiser available

NHS testing kits provided for all staff

Extra seating

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Track and Trace QR codes displayed at entrances for those wishing to check in

Increased ventilation and air-conditioning

Larger groups welcome.

True North added: “We appreciate that for some the measures might still feel a bit restrictive and for others may be a step too far.

“We know we can't please everybody in this situation and so, for now, we ask that everybody respects the rules in place and is considerate to other customers and our staff.

“Trust us that nobody wants a return to 'normal' more than us but we believe a cautious approach is required.”