One year of Covid: This is the story of Wakefield's pubs and bars through the pandemic

It has been a year of uncertainty for Wakefield's hospitality sector.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:45 pm
Layla Baker at Lobby 1867 on Westgate
Layla Baker at Lobby 1867 on Westgate

From the back end of March last year bars, pubs and restaurants were forced to close, though many carried on providing delivery or take out food.

And many contributed to meal schemes to help feed people in need.

But it wasn’t until the summer that most venues were able to return. Hospitality businesses were allowed to reopen with social distancing measures in place from July 4.

Lisa de Csernatony cuts hair at Kraft Barbers

Bars and restaurants introduced sanitising stations, table service and ordering apps.

A track and trace service was used to log visitors to pubs with the intention of contacting people if an outbreak was later recorded.

At the time manager Antony and Lisa de Csernatony, had opened their new venture Kraft Koffee, to accompany their barbers shop, on Wood Street. Antony said: “Now more than ever is the time to celebrate Wakefield getting back to its best.

“Wakefield already has a great offering in terms of its night time economy and we are here to build on that and support the local economy.”

Saturday, July 4 was a big date with a huge effort from the hospitality sector to get back on track.

As the first pints of the summer were pulled a sense of normality appeared to be returning. It was a busy weekend but things were looking up in Wakefield despite trouble reported elsewhere in the country.

Layla Baker, who owns Lobby 1867 on Westgate, said: “It’s so frustrating seeing lots of negativity about the weekend on national news, when actually, we put it down as a roaring success.”

The reopening was followed by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme during August in which eateries offered subsidised discounts on food to get people going out again.

Diners across the UK claimed more than 51 million meals during August.

And it has now been revealed that people in the Wakefield district took advantage of the deal 285,000 times through the month, saving an average of £5.57 per meal. In total, £1,598,000 of discount was claimed by restaurants.

A total of 295 restaurants signed up to the scheme across all four of Wakefield’s parliamentary constituencies, not including chain restaurants with 25 outlets or more.

In the autumn, West Yorkshire was first put into Tier 2 restrictions. But the county was then switched to Tier 3 – the tightest possible restrictions – before the government decided to reintroduce lockdown for all of England.


Restaurants move outside