Mixed feelings for bar staff returning to work

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Concert Square / Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

Bar staff who have been furloughed for the past year have got mixed feelings about returning to work.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-stage plan last month that will see a phased exit from Covid-19 restrictions. The plan consists of schools, shops and areas of the hospitality industry re-opening.

The earliest that pubs and bars can re-open is April 12, and that is on the condition that people may only be seated outside. Should infection rates remain low, the hospitality sector will be allowed to host people indoors from May 17 and from June 21 nightclubs may re-open with all restrictions lifted.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic with many places being closed since March last year. However, it is not just the businesses themselves that have been affected, as many members of staff have been furloughed from the beginning of the pandemic.

Niall Mallon, 25, who works at the McCooley’s in Concert Square, said: “I’m excited to get back to work, it’s been really boring, as there’s not been much to do.

“I really enjoyed that short period of time last year when we were allowed to open again, because it got me out of the house and improved my mental health.”

Sophie Attenborough, who works at Baa Bar on Fleet Street, is also eager to get back to work. She said: “I’ve been furloughed since the start of March 2020 and I’m still furloughed now.

“It’s been a bit boring, it’s good that we actually did get furloughed, but it’s just been a bit rubbish without the routine of having to go in to work every weekend and seeing everyone that I work with.

“I cannot wait to get back to work to see everyone, to hear the music, to be doing what I enjoy.

“I’m hoping it happens, however it all depends on everyone following the restrictions and everything, but from what I’ve gathered everyone’s hopeful that we will be opening when we plan to open. It’s just fingers crossed at this point.”

You can listen to Sophie’s full interview>>>

But not everyone is excited to get back to work. Atlanta Burton, has worked in a number of bars in Liverpool. She said: “No, I’m not excited to go back to work. I’ve enjoyed the time off, as I’ve been able to spend more time with my family.

“I’ve been out of the routine for so long now I don’t think I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things.”

Twitter has also been divided, with some users sharing their enthusiasm to return to work and others showing their dismay.

About Aidan Crisp, JMU Journalism