Passengers stick with masks as 'Freedom Day' arrives on Sheffield trams and buses

It was the day restrictions were ditched – but masks still mostly appeared to be required gear on Sheffield’s buses and trams today.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 5:27 pm

Residents described the city’s public transport as quiet today as the city took a step back towards normality on so-called ‘freedom day’ – and those heading into town told how they were looking forward to the return of some of their old activities.

Deborah Chadwick and Anthony Mitchell, from Gleadless, came into the town centre together on the tram this morning for a trip to the bank and some shopping.

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A tram in Sheffield city centre today
A tram in Sheffield city centre today

Both wore masks and said most people on their tram did so.

Deborah said: “I think I will continue to wear a mask. I think they have opened up too early with cases rising, although I don’t suppose there’s any right time.

Anthony added: “It felt all right coming in on the tram. I think people will be sensible – I hope so.”

Russell and Julia Smith had travelled into Sheffield for the day from Holmfirth to get a watch serviced at HL Brown in the city centre, catching the tram from Meadowhall.

Anthony Mitchell and Deborah Chadwick.

Julia said: “It felt exactly the same as usual coming in on the tram. There were not many people on there, maybe 12 at the most. The conductor was not wearing a mask, and I think perhaps they should have.”

Russell said: “I would still feel more comfortable in masks in enclosed spaces.”

Maureen Barlow, from Hillsborough, felt fine making the tram journey into the city centre in a mask, for a trip to the bank and shopping at Marks and Spencer.

"There was only one person without a facemask on,” she said. “But I felt comfortable, and I had a seat to myself. It was not very busy.

Julia and Russell Smith

"I am a bit apprehensive, and I think we’ve all got to be careful, although I’ve had my jabs.

“What I am looking forward to, with the end of restrictions, is the Women’s Institute starting up again – we’ve not met for 18 months. Wharncliffe Side WI’s what I’m really looking forward to.”

Twins Scott and Thomas Holden, aged 30 from Manor, had come into the city centre on the bus, for their first drink together since lockdown last year.

Scott, who wore his mask at the bus stop, said he felt all right, but still a bit cautious.

Maureen Barlow

He said: “Everyone was wearing masks, but I may have felt uncomfortable if it was busy, not just for myself but for others. We’re in town to do some shopping for our mum and dad, then we’re going to have a drink, which we’ve not done for a long time.”

Thomas added: “I think we’ll probably sit inside for the drink – it’s been a long time.”

Taxi driver Ahmed Raja, from Sharrow, did not expect much to change. He said town was very quiet, and most people were still wearing masks.

"I will still be wearing mine,” he said.

Fellow driver Muamar Abdulrab, from Upperthorpe, said the change he was looking forward to was the re-opening of nightclubs, as he felt it would boost taxi drivers in terms of business.

But he added: “The thing I’d really like is to go on holiday, but travel is where there are still restrictions.”

Twins Thomas and Scott Holden.jpg

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