Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Council apologises for coronavirus pub tweet

A woman cleaning wine glasses behind a bar Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pubs in England have been closed since March to slow the spread of Covid-19

A council has apologised for telling people that coronavirus will be "waiting for you" at the pub when they reopen this weekend.

Sheffield City Council said Covid-19 would be "happiest" about rule changes which come into force on Saturday.

A number of landlords responded angrily to the social media post, which has since been deleted.

The council said the post was "badly worded but was done with the best intentions".

On Thursday, the council tweeted: "The virus loves crowded places and thrives on close contact.

"It won't be queuing to get inside the pub - it will already be there waiting for you."

The post also included a short video warning people: "Don't put yourself at risk for the sake of a pint."

Image caption The post has since been deleted

John Harrison, co-owner of the Beer House, said: "I was shocked to see the tweet after we'd spent weeks working tirelessly to make sure our business is a safe environment, going above and beyond the government guidelines.

"It felt like a real kick in the gut for the hospitality industry in Sheffield that is on its knees."

Liz Aspden, landlady at The Harlequin, said the tweet was "very damaging to a trade which is just trying to get back on its feet and made no recognition of the fact that we'll be doing our utmost to create a safe environment".

"Publicans have been spending long hours - and significant amounts of money - planning to re-open their pubs safely within the guidelines set out by the government," she said.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment, apologised for the message.

"We are in a difficult situation, we want to support our local pubs and venues but we must also remember that we are still in the middle of a serious pandemic," he said.

"We want people to enjoy themselves this weekend, visit your favourite pub, cafe or restaurant, but to do so in a safe and measured way."

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