This is how Wakefield has found a way to make things work as coronavirus cases continue to increase

After a summer when we seemed to be finding a way to live alongside the virus the country has been given a reality check.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Shaun Slater at the Black Rock

The new rules brought in at the end of last week mean families and friends have more limitations on how they can spend time together and businesses are having to be more creative to keep afloat.

The rules – which include stricter policies on masks, opening hours, and test and trace – were brought in as the government’s chief scientific advisor warned we could see 50,000 cases and 200 deaths a day by mid-October.

City bars, pubs and other businesses faced the first weekend of the new 10pm curfew

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Layla Baker at Lobby 1867

And three businesses in the district were fined for flouting the rules over the weekend.

Historic Cross Square pub The Black Rock is the last place anyone would have expected to have their pint delivered to the table a year ago.

Landlord Shaun Slater said: “The new regulations have knocked us back a bit. Some are finding it difficult remembering to mask-up every time they’re going to stand up. However we are still trading so that’s a plus.

“In time the masks will be second nature. It took a while before customers stopped bringing empty glasses back to the bar, just trying to be helpful.” He said the 10pm curfew hadn’t been a problem during the week.

“A few regulars have started coming out a hour earlier.It’s too early to say what the weekends will be like as we have only had one.

“We only allow up to 30 people in at once so we’re already full to capacity most of the time at weekends.

“On masks, if it means we can continue to trade it’s a small price to pay and the majority of the customers have been very good.”

Layla Baker, the owner of Lobby 1867 on Westgate, said the first weekend under new rules put limits on what the bar could do.

She said: “Table service was used throughout, with people either booking in advance or walking in – although at times we did unfortunately have to turn people away as we were at full capacity due to social distancing, which as a small independent business, totally breaks our hearts.

“We would be lying if we didn’t say it makes excellent customer service harder to achieve – we need more staff to serve less people in less time, but every single one of our customers was understanding and totally respectful to staff.

“Staff who, it must be said worked so hard throughout their shifts, whilst wearing masks, to ensure everyone was safe and served – we cannot praise them enough.”

Wakefield Council decided to take action against three businesses it said had broken the rules. The council said at the weekend a number of issues were seen in the district’s takeaway restaurants. This included people entering the takeaways at 10pm to order food, people stood consuming food outside takeaways and then some ordering food from outside the takeaway for them to bring it outside to them.

The council also confirmed there had been a spike in cases in Ossett, following mounting speculation in the area.

The outbreak of the virus has seen “at least” 20 cases and three people hospitalised.

Anna Hartley, Wakefield’s director of public health, said: “This cluster of cases is a really powerful example of how easily the virus can be transmitted, and a stark reminder of the very serious consequences it can have for some people.”

How have you been affected by the new rules?