Bar Fibre and Viaduct Showbar owner Terry George on the future of Leeds nightlife post Covid

The nightlife and hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, with many bars having to close for long periods.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 11:45 am

When the industry has been allowed to reopen, businesses have had to adhere to strict safety measures, such as only operating in beer gardens.

Nightclubs have not been able to reopen since March 2020.

Terry George, owner of Viaduct Showbar and Fibre on Lower Briggate, is hopeful about the future of the industry in Leeds despite having to close one of his nightclubs.

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Terry George, owner of Viaduct Showbar, Bar Fibre and The Briggate Boutique. Photo: Steve Riding

Club Mission, a sprawling venue under the railway arches on Heaton's Court, had been a stalwart of Leeds' nightlife scene for more than 17 years.

However, in July, it announced it would cease trading due to the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Terry said: “All three venues went into administration, but unfortunately with Mission we would have never been able to get back on our feet again as we had no money coming in.”

However, Terry remains hopeful about the future of Leeds nightlife although he knows it will face challenges moving forward.

Leeds city centre.

"When we reopened last year I was surprised at how many people followed the rules and I think going forward people are going to be more mindful.

“The first few months are going to be a bit like Mad Friday every weekend, because people have missed their freedom so I think there might be an influx of people that are not regular drinkers.

“The first few months will be a bit of a fireball, but things should go back to normal again."

READ MORE: Relief as Government confirms Leeds beer garden reopenings for Merrion Street businesses, Chophaus and Chow Down

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens can reopen from April 12 in England in a press conference on Monday, April 5.

Mr Johnson, setting out the move to the second step of the road map on Monday, said the shift was “fully justified by the data” and that he had seen “nothing” to make him think he would have to “deviate” from his intention to scrap all restrictions by June 21 at the earliest.

Stage two of lockdown easing will see some premises allowed to reopen – some of them for the first time in three months – from next week, including non-essential shops, hairdressers and nail salons, gyms, while independent or household visits to libraries, community centres, zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will also be allowed.

Self-contained accommodation including campsites and holiday lets will be permitted to receive guests, and bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors, but groups will be limited to two households or by the rule of six.

It comes as England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned that coronavirus “will be with us for the foreseeable future” while chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested the pandemic could result in long-term changes in behaviour.

Sir Patrick said better hand hygiene, regular Covid-19 testing and staying away from work when feeling ill were “likely to be important baseline measures” in the future.