Don't let our beloved hospitality sector freeze over this winter: YEP opinion
As the weather takes a turn for the worse, it's more important than ever to continue to support the local businesses that gave us such a wonderful summer.
After a year of being locked away inside with little contact with loved ones, it's no surprise that this summer became one of al fresco living.
Dining outside on patio chairs, beer in hand and catching up with friends I hadn't seen in a long time, the last few months have been a glimpse at the busy life before 'this' all started- pulled in all directions with far too much on my plate, savouring every interaction.
This summer saw a revival of the music, arts and culture we all feared for over the pandemic; the first festivals, the first tables conjoined at bars and the first opportunities to meet new people all presented themselves in fond familiarity no matter where we were.
Now knee deep in October the sun still shines on but with a new icy glare, and as the colder months draw in I worry about the future of these local cafe gems and bar hideaways that united us all in our first summer back together.
I have already caught myself doing it- turning down invitations for an evening out when normally I'd jump at the chance.
There's just something about the changing of seasons that tempts us all back inside, tucks us away into hibernation till March rolls back around and we can start to emerge and enjoy life once again.
Yet as we feel the steady pull beckoning us beneath the blankets, it's now more important than ever to get back out there.
Despite how it may appear on the surface, this summer hasn't fixed the cracks that emerged in the hospitality sector over a year ago.
Instead it has simply glazed over them, the temporary solution of a sunny economic boom soon eroding away unless we recognise the importance of propping up our favourite venues as the leaves fall to the ground.
Communities have been built around each establishment in this city, uniting all walks of life and making friends of people so many of us never would have met otherwise.
These are the cornerstones of the Leeds we love, these are what make the city so special.
If we don't strive to enjoy the bars, cafes, independent shops and hotels we love so dearly when rain turns to ice, we cannot expect them to still be standing tall this time next year.
Instead of using this winter to lock ourselves away once more, let's wrap up warm and face the biting cold with determination; venture outside and sacrifice central heating to give the beloved places in this city the breath of life all winter long.
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