Excitement builds for first full weekend of bars and restaurants indoors in Leeds

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Customers at Leeds bars and restaurants are looking forward to spending the weekend out of the miserable weather, according to hospitality venue owners.

Martin Greenhow managing director of MOJO bars, joked that people were looking forward to not "catching hypothermia while socialising."

He added: "All sites fully booked for this weekend weekend from opening to midnight - which is very positive.

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"The first week of outdoors opening - the pressure valve had been opened , there was a clear desperation for social contact.

MOJO managing director Martin Greenhow.MOJO managing director Martin Greenhow.
MOJO managing director Martin Greenhow.

"We've not seen the comparative level of desperation since opening indoors, but have seen very solid demand but not that absolute panic

"That said, what we saw was very quick booking of this weekend slots."

Mr Greenhow added: "As an industry it is exciting for this weekend, it's a welcome feeling to be back and working to a more normal level.

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"There's a bit of trepidation though and stiffness in muscles that haven’t been used for quite a while."

Amy Sanderson at Leeds City Varieties.Amy Sanderson at Leeds City Varieties.
Amy Sanderson at Leeds City Varieties.

Zulfi Hussan, owner of Deeva in Farsley and The Cat's Pyjamas in Headingley, said:" It's just nice to have that laughter, the banter and the noise back in - it's a great, great feeling.

"For this weekend, we're ready to go."

He added: "Yesterday at Deeva we had somebody celebrating their fiftieth birthday, somebody else celebrating their mother's seventieth.

"It's just nice to see families back together and and just being able to see each other, and we've had some great feedback so far."

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Zulfi Hussain at Deeva in Farsley.Zulfi Hussain at Deeva in Farsley.
Zulfi Hussain at Deeva in Farsley.

Mr Hussain sad that sadly he had already had to deal with no-shows at both his restaurants, but did not want to introduce a deposit system in order to show trust to his customers.

Elsewhere, cinema and theatre-goers have been making a cautious return to performances.

The City Varieties held its first live performance since the start of the pandemic - Judy and Liza - on Thursday.

Leeds Heritage Theatres head of communications Amy Sanderson said: "It was great to have an actual live performance

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"It's been really great to just see people coming back and there's been quite a lot of appetite for it, so that's been really positive."

Attendees have been wearing face coverings during performances and there is only an at-seat drinks service, as well as staggered entry.

The venue is also hosting cinema screenings, which are continuing with showings of Nomadland and Sound of Metal this weekend.

It is hoped The Grand Theatre will reopen on June 17, just before the planned easing of social distancing measure, for a Northern Ballet performance of Swan Lake.

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Amy added: "I'd be lying if we said we were not watching the news with some trepidation about how likely that removal of social distancing is going to be, but we've got very good at making contingency plans.

"We're carrying on with that, but really keeping everything crossed and preparing to open."

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