This is how people in Sheffield felt about the reopening of shops, amid reports of hundreds queuing to get into Primark

With lockdown restrictions lifting and non essential shops being allowed to reopen yesterday, it was a day of mixed emotions for many shop owners and shoppers in Sheffield.

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 5:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 5:32 pm

Sheffield city centre was busy with shoppers, as was Meadowhall, and shoppers spoke of their experiences as being ‘nothing different’ for this time of year.

Most shoppers were heading to the larger stores rather than the smaller independent shops however, leaving some business owners quieter than expected.

Ellen Green said: “Meadowhall was like how it always is near Christmas. I think most people were heading to Primark and Debenhams. People were generally doing what they were supposed to though.”

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Meadowhall staff prepared to reopen on Dec 3rd. Picture Scott Merrylees

Another Meadowhall shopper told how there were ‘hundreds queuing at Primark’, while others spoke of the difficulties of being able to social distance in the centre due to the large number of people.

Oltjana added: “Debenhams at Meadowhall was absolutely packed, people didn’t seem to be scared.”

In Sheffield city centre on The Moor, shoppers spoke of it being ‘very busy’ and ‘stressful’.

A shop worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told how she was nervous about going to work because of the large numbers of people that were expected to turn up.

Sheffield enters tier 3 restrictions as the 2nd lockdown ends with shops reopening. Primark, The Moor. Picture: Chris Etchells

Large high street stores may have been expecting to be busy with sales attracting customers, but the same amount of certainty cannot be said for independent business owners.

Andy Slater, has just opened Reyt Good, a studio and shop in Kelham Arcade, selling a range of prints and other artwork.

He said: “I opened up my brand new shop for the first time today. It’s been great to be open if not a little quiet. Looking forward to the coming weeks as things hopefully get a little bit back to ‘normal’.”

Other independent shop owners like Deborah of MoonKo, chose not to open up on the first day out of lockdown.

Debenhams, The Moor. Picture: Chris Etchells

She has been operating online throughout lockdown but is ‘really struggling to keep up’ so the shop is opening on a ‘see how it goes’ basis.

Most independent businesses are finding themselves in a similar situation as the pandemic continues and many have relied on the community to help their businesses survive.

Deborah said: “Your support has been incredible, from Sheffield, Yorkshire and all over the country!”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.