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Local News

Sheffielders speak out on why they are shunning Freedom Day

today19/07/2021

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Today is supposed to be a momentous day for the country, as the legal restrictions that have governed our lives for the last year and a half have finally come to an end.

From today, it is no longer a legal requirement to wear a mask in indoor spaces, nor is there any restrictions on the number of people who may gather indoors or outdoors.

But in Sheffield, it is just like any other day – as many people have decided that they are shunning the government’s easing of restrictions and carrying on as they have since the rules were first imposed.

Read more: Live Freedom Day in Yorkshire and latest coronavirus updates

In the city centre, many people were still walking around with their masks on and very few people were entering shops or indoor spaces without them.

Janet Palmer, 63, is one such person and she told South Yorkshire Live that she does not agree with today’s easing of restrictions.

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here .

She said: “I don’t like it, I think it’s too much, too soon. It’s [coronavirus] just still going around and I just think it’s [easing restrictions] not going to help, my son and daughter in law are nurses so I know.

“I’m only out today because I’ve got to meet a friend, otherwise I wouldn’t be here at all. I just think that the numbers of people ill will be going up and I worry for the younger ones.”

And Jackie Lees, 73, also had her face shield on today. She said: “I’m trying to keep as protected as possible, even though I’ve been doubled-dosed, it’s for my own peace of mind.”

Jackie said that she did not feel the repeated lockdowns had helped the rise and fall in cases over the last year and a half, as many people did not abide by them.

She said: “We’ve had two lockdowns and if everybody had stuck to them then it may have worked, but it’s no good half doing it and half not – but I do appreciate that we’ve got to get back to some sort of normality.

“I want everybody to have the vaccine, until we’ve got herd immunity then we’re not going to feel safe with anybody we meet.”

But John Ward, 74, is feeling a little more relaxed and he said that he has not really changed much of his behaviour throughout the pandemic, though he has worn a mask.

He said: “I’ve never changed the whole way through, I’ve had a mask but I’ve just kept my distance and I’ve not been to the pubs, which I’ve not missed.

“On a Saturday, I used to love going into the pub and sitting down at 11am with a paper and a drink and then, at around 2pm when it started getting busy, I’d go home; but as soon as they took that away from me, I just thought what’s the point? With the signing in and out.

“I do think that’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided any flu or sore throats throughout the year, but I don’t think it ought to have happened since the beginning. I think we should have just gone with it.”

John said that he also does not feel that repeated lockdowns have been of much use.

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He added: “I don’t think it’s done any good at all and you’ve got to contend with the people who don’t follow it anyway, I don’t think it’s done anything.

“In certain places I’ll still wear a mask, like on buses as I don’t have a car. But I just don’t understand any of it, what’s the long term effect?”

Some of the city’s younger residents, as the last adults to be offered the vaccine, have also been feeling very cautious about today’s final easing of restrictions.

Emily Mukherjee and Rebecca Dixon, both 18, said that they were feeling a little bit unsure about the government scrapping all legal constraints.



Many stores in Sheffield have still got signs outside asking people to wear a mask
Many stores in Sheffield have still got signs outside asking people to wear a mask

Emily said: “I think it’s a bit risky and it feels a bit too soon, I don’t think that wearing a mask is a big ask so I think it’s a bit concerning. We’re not doubled vaccinated and we’ve still got vulnerable family members.

“I think it’s about being considerate of other people, I’m not so worried about myself it’s about others. I’m still going to be wearing a mask I think, especially in busy places.”

Rebecca agreed, she said: “I think it’s a bit unnecessary and we need a few more weeks. We’ll be doubled vaccinated in a few months and if we could wait a few months it would save a lot.

“Everybody is at risk but the people who haven’t been double jabbed and the people who are working with people who aren’t wearing masks, it’s a risk for them. Me and Emily are both waitresses so we’re still going to be wanting people to wear masks, but if we can’t enforce it…it won’t frighten me it’ll just make me more uncomfortable.”



Businesses across Sheffield are offering 'Freedom Day' deals
Businesses across Sheffield are offering ‘Freedom Day’ deals

And some businesses have said that they would prefer customers to continue wearing their masks on the premises, though many have left it up to customers’ discretion.

Amber Savage, who owns Vulgar Vintage on Divison Street, said that she is leaving it up to her staff and customers to make their own decision – though would prefer people wear masks.

She said: “People today have mostly still been wearing a mask in the shop, it’s just been business as usual and everybody has been happy to wear them.

“We were enforcing it before and just saying ‘please guys, can you wear a mask?’ but we’ve kind of decided that we’re going to leave it up to ech individual now, we’ve put a post on Instagram that if people want to wear a mask they can, but it’s up to individual discretion.

“I’ve said the same to staff as well, I’d rather they wear a mask but I’m going to leave it down to their choice – I’m still going to be wear mine as I don’t want to get ill.”

Will you still be wearing a mask and social distancing? Let us know in the comments!

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today19/07/2021