'The city centre buzz has returned' - Sheffield Star reporter's take on the atmosphere as pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants reopen
Pubs, restaurants, hair salons and shops all opened today on April 12 under the latest stage of the governments ‘roadmap plan’ out of lockdown.
As I walked around the city centre, it was immediately clear that the buzz which has been missing for months has finally returned. I’ve walked through the city during the lockdown, and I haven’t seen it that busy since the Eat Out To Help out scheme. I saw thousands of people taking the chance to visit shops, both independent and high street chains, that they have missed throughout the third lockdown. In my opinion, shopping online is different from physically walking into a shop and purchasing an item; you get more of an experience that you can’t get online.
It was a joy seeing people out and about either having a drink with family and friends at the pub or just going about their daily business in general. It’s evident that people are now at their happiest, and although we must still be cautious in what we do, it’s great to have freedom for what seems like the first time in forever.
Earlier in the day, I spoke to shop and gym owners whose businesses have endured many hardships during the pandemic, and they seemed really positive about welcoming clients and customers back.
Down on the Moor, we saw shoppers lining up to get into Primark after months of the retail store being closed.
I was also surprised to see many people taking advantage of our wonderful independent stores here in Sheffield.
The smaller and independent stores are often overlooked, but they sell some fantastic items.
I'm glad to see the majority have survived over the numerous lockdowns, but let's take a minute to think about those that haven't.
The lockdown has been difficult for everybody and now is our chance to get out and take advantage of all the things we once enjoyed doing.
I've seen many people posting about going to the gym and how it has improved their mental health after just doing one training session.
I think it was a crucial decision for the government to open gyms, but, some might argue that they should have opened a lot sooner as the nation’s mental health started to deteriorate over the lockdown period.
Hair salons and barbershops were full today, and one, in particular, had a long line of customers with only one chair available.
People are obviously desperate to get rid of those lockdown locks, and I do not blame them one bit. I'm booked in to have my hair cut next week, and I'm envious of those that have managed to book a slot this week.
Overall, it has been a great day with many people enjoying themselves, and I look forward to the next stage of lockdown measures easing on May 17, when we’ll see more pubs and bars opening.