‘They’re slowly killing us’: How Sheffield pubs have ‘effectively been closed’ by Tier 2 lockdown
Pub landlords in Sheffield have reacted with dismay to the new tier 2 lockdown restrictions announced to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
From Wednesday, different households in Sheffield will not be allowed to meet indoors, including in pubs, bars and restaurants, though groups of up to six people will still be permitted outside.
There were fears that pubs and bars in the city could be forced to close, as has happened in Liverpool, where only those serving ‘substantial’ meals can remain open.
But one landlord in Sheffield says the tier 2 restrictions – the middle level under the Government’s new three-tier lockdown system – are possibly worse because they will have a huge impact on trade without any of the extra support which would have been provided were pubs prevented from opening.
Kevin Woods, landlord at the New Barrack Tavern in Hillsborough, said: “With only single households being allowed indoors they’ve effectively closed us but because they haven’t officially closed us they don’t have to pay us.
"They say groups of six can still meet outside but it’s already the middle of October and it’s getting cold so only very hardy souls are going to sit outside all evening.
"It would have been better to say you’re going to have to close your doors for two weeks.
"Now we have to make the decision about whether it’s worth opening at a cost to ourselves. There will be some regulars who will show their support, which is great, but if it’s not enough to pay for having the lights on and everything it will be in vain.”
Pubs across England are still required to close by 10pm under the new regulations, with table service only allowed, and they must take customers’ details to support NHS Test and Trace.
Kane Yeardley, of the True North Brew Co, which has 12 venues across Sheffield, Barnsley and Dronfield, including Forum Kitchen + Bar and The Broadfield, was also downbeat about the new restrictions.
“They’re just slowly killing us at the moment with the curfew and now this, but thank god we’re still allowed to remain open,” he said.
"People can still book tables and come and visit us, and we hope they keep supporting us, because pubs are among the safest places to be.
"When pubs reopened in July there wasn’t a spike. It’s not our fault and I just feel we shouldn’t be penalised now.
"We check people's temperatures, take their details and every half an hour you’ll hear a funny little noise reminding our staff to wash their hands and go round checking all the tables are clean.
"People are doing their utmost to ensure pubs are as safe as possible, and I don’t think we’re getting the respect we deserve as an industry.”
Boris Johnson this week defended restrictions imposed on the hospitality sector.
Addressing a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister said: “We are not an outlier in this, in the sense that I think they’ve closed the bars in Paris, and in Berlin they’ve got the first curfew since 1949, so across Europe and elsewhere you can see people tackling this in very similar ways.”