The new normal: How is the 10pm curfew affecting Sheffield’s nightlife?

“It’s odd when people are queuing up for the nightclub and it’s still sunny outside”

Last week, Boris Johnson introduced a 10 pm curfew rule as a new measure to help contain COVID-19 and to slow down the spread of the virus.

Hospitality industries across the nation have been hit hard by this new rule, and Sheffield is not any different.

For Freshers’ Week in Sheff, some of our fav nightclubs such as Code and The Leadmill brought back their beloved club nights in order to give freshers and returning students as much of a ‘normal’  university experience as possible – socially distanced of course.

But, with the curfew coming into play halfway through Freshers’ Week, clubs and bars across the Steel City were put under a lot of stress to reschedule or cancel events to adhere to the new guidelines.

The Sheffield Tab spoke to some of the popular student bars and clubs in the city to get an inside scoop on how the 10 pm curfew is really affecting their businesses.

Simon Tomlinson, the Marketing Manager for both Code and Molly Malone’s, told The Sheffield Tab:

“It’s strange, but everyone is adapting to these new rules. Something that we’re really keen on at both Code and Molly Malone’s is that we want to work our hardest to give the people the university experience that they come to Sheffield for.

“We started Freshers’ Week without the curfew and the nights were amazing; they all sold out. Again, we’re really proud of our customers and staff for sticking to the rules – everyone is taking it very seriously.”

After Thursday though, Code and other Sheffield venues had to start following the 10 pm curfew. For Code, this meant opening earlier, at 5 pm, so that their events could still take place.

He continued: “It’s odd when people are queuing up for the nightclub and it’s still sunny outside but, by the time people get into the club it could be anytime, so it doesn’t make that much of a difference.”

Sheffield Venues feel that students are safer drinking indoors as at least proper COVID rules are being followed.

Code’s Marketing Manager added: “To be completely honest, I think the disappointing thing about the curfew is that I think students are safer and better looked after if they are in Molly’s and Code than having to leave at 10 pm.

“For a lot of freshers, this is their first time experiencing drinking on nights out so, from our perspective it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a curfew where hundreds of students are being put out on the streets. They’re obviously going to go to student parties, which is not something that students can be blamed for as it’s one of the main reasons people go to university.”

Simon finished: “We want to look after our students. We’re not bothered about trying to make as much money in a shorter period of time. We’ve tried to keep our drinks prices exactly the same as what they would be if the venue was at full capacity.

“People still want to come out and have fun and both the venues that we operate allow students to do that in the safest possible way.”

For other venues in Sheffield like The Leadmill, they too have been affected by the curfew.

Like Code, they have rearranged their club nights such as their ‘Abba Night’ and ‘Club Tropicana Bingo event’ to start as early as 2:30 pm.

For students attending, it won’t be the bright red neon sign welcoming them in – rather the sight of daylight and day drinking to surpass the curfew.

The Sheffield Tab also spoke to The Leadmill to see how the curfew is affecting the running of their venue.

They said: “It has been really difficult to adapt our schedule midway through Freshers’ Week; we’ve had to bring a lot of our events forward to comply with the new rules and also completely rearrange others.

“It has been more difficult than ever to reach students, due to the lack of physical marketing being available, but that hasn’t stopped near enough every event selling out, thankfully.”

The 10 pm curfew is a big adjustment for all bars and clubs across Sheffield. With restrictions in line for at least the next six months, it is something that both students and businesses will need to get used to.

But with Sheffield’s Indie Pop background and party reputation, starting the night out at mid-afternoon shouldn’t be a problem for the city’s student population.

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 We asked the freshers of Sheffield how they felt about starting uni in corona times