But there are many reasons to be optimistic about the city’s fortunes once the pandemic has eased and life has regained a little more normality.
Plans are still being made to open new venues and businesses, and some have even managed to launch in recent times despite all the upheavals of 2020.
Here are 12 places you can look forward to visiting.
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.
1. The Orange Bird
The Orange Bird on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, had to quickly adapt to offer takeaway meals after it opened in the middle of lockdown in November. It is run by Anne Horner and Matthew Duggan-Jones - eventually the place will be able to seat up to 24 customers.
Photo: Georgia Horn Photography
2. Năm Sông 3
Năm Sông - a Vietnamese-inspired coffee business - has sites in Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, with plans for a third venue at a yet-to-be-revealed location on the way.
Photo: Dean Atkins
3. Marmadukes 3
Marmadukes has two very popular independent cafés on Norfolk Row and Cambridge Street, specialising in excellent coffee, a thoughtful menu and attractive interior design - now a third site is on the way on Ecclesall Road where the Royal Mail delivery office used to be. In October Tim Nye, who runs Marmadukes with his wife Clare, said the new venue would blend a café with a bakery.
Photo: Dean Atkins
4. The Wildcard Bar & Grill
The Wildcard Bar & Grill, on Ecclesall Road, opened in October in the building where Napoleon's casino used to be - however, the national lockdown and tier restrictions mean the bar has spent much of its time closed. With an enormous 'jumbotron' screen over the bar, the ability to screen different sports on dozens of TVs and a mini-museum of Sheffield sport, The Wildcard will be something to look forward to when it is able to operate at full strength.
Photo: Brian Eyre