Some restaurants on second round of closure as affected venues shut to protect staff and customers

COVID has been affecting hospitality openings all this month, with some venues on their second closure.

Evelyn's has been once again affected by COVID. The Northern Quarter favourite said: "Our small team has been hit with yet more isolations and we’ve got little option but to close until this Friday [2 July] assuming things remain as they are. 

"Normality (whatever that feels like) should resume from 4pm on Friday after a day spent prepping.."

Ancoats restaurant Erst is also on its second closure, which lasts until 3 July. It joins doughnut wizards Siop Shop, who were handed ten-day isolation period until 10 July.

Sapporo Teppanyaki also closed recently, saying: "Here at Sapporo we believe in transparency, and wish to inform our guests that Sapporo Teppanyaki Manchester is closed as from today until further notice, due to one of our team members showing symptoms of Covid-19.

"Our team members are all being tested and once we know we can once again offer a 100% safe environment for our guests, we will re-open."

Withington's Cafe Blah has also had to close until Thursday 1 July as the owners have to isolate.  

House of Esk also had to close, reopening on Tuesday 29 June.

Shipping container Hatch started operating on reduced hours to "multiple" cases of COVID earlier this month.

According to one retailer based at the shipping container foodie destination: "There has been multiple positive COVID cases across some of the other traders in Hatch so for safety the management team has decided to close the site for a deep clean." The announcement was made Thursday 17 June, the team expect to be back on full operation by Wednesday 23 June.

Nibble NQ also joined the growing list of hospitality business affected. it said it would reopen in Sunday 20 June.

Mackie Mayor, Idle Hands, Koffee Pot, San Carlo, Yard & Coop and V Revs all also announced closures due to COVID on Monday 14 June. 

San Carlo said the closure was a "precautionary measure" and that it would be open again "as quickly as possible", expecting to be back around Thursday 17.

Fried chicken specialists Yard & Coop said, "the safety of our team, customers community here in the NQ is always our priority."

Blossom Street Social announced it would close on June 9 after a member of the team was in close contact with someone with COVID. It will update us with its reopening date on social media soon.

Lofty restaurant 20 Stories also said it would have to close until Tuesday 15 June after some of the team members were advised to self isolate, although the rooftop bar and terrace will remain open for drinks and snacks.

Kala, part of the Elite Bistros empire, also said it will have to close for a week after a staff member tested positive for COVID. The restaurant tweeted on June 5: "Our track and trace processes have been activated and we’re hopeful that our stringent adherence to the protocols means that the impact..."

"We are so sorry and we will do our best to rebook anybody who’s reservation we need to cancel." 

Crazy Pedros on Bridge Street also announced it will close temporarily. 

The bottomless pizza legends said: "Due to a load of our staff needing to self isolate we’ve taken the decision to close our Bridge Street site until this all blows over."

The Blues Kitchen has also had to close due to COVID. The live music venue will be shut for a week from today, to reopen on Friday 11 June. The decision has been made to ensure the safety of all staff and customers.

Most commenters have been extremely supportive of the bars, lauding the decision

Ol, the nano brewery and bar located in Hatch, also announced it would close from June 6, saying "Unfortunately due to a COVID-19 positive test on site all of our team have been informed to self isolate until they can get fully tested." 

Common, Erst, Porta, The Jane Eyre, Speak In Code, Bar Pop in the Gay Village and the new Schofield's cocktail bar were among the first to be affected as they announced their temporary closures on social media over the Bank Holiday weekend. They are now reopened though we advise checking social media.

Common said in a statement: "Unfortunately, we’ve been notified of a case of COVID-19 on site, meaning we are unable to open for the next few days while everyone undergoes testing, and self isolation is completed for those staff that have been informed it is necessary.

“The safety of our staff, our customers, and our community is our highest priority: as much as we love pizza, drinks, and a bank holiday heatwave, we’re in a situation where there are much bigger things that matter.”

The original Common bar in the Northern Quarter is the only site from the Common team to be affected. The group’s other venues traded as usual.

Honest Burger Interior
Honest Burgers

Schofield's Bar, which has already captured the heart our own Neil Sowerby, said: "We have chosen to do this as a precaution to protect the welfare of our staff and you, our guests." 

"If you came to visit us in the bar in the last week and are concerned, please know that your safety is so important to us, however as we believe this was an isolated incident the chances of spreading are relatively small – in fact the Test and Trace will only contact you if two or more people test positive and were in the same venue on the same day – which we do not believe was the case."

More restrictions on Manchester restaurants

Hawksmoor on Deansgate also announced restricted hours, saying: “We’ve taken the decision to change the opening hours for Hawksmoor Manchester for the coming week. Some of our staff have been notified by Test & Trace and need to self-isolate, and we want to make sure that every service we open can do so without compromising standards.” 

The restaurant, which specialises in steak and cocktails, will be open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Hawksmoor has also promised to match furlough for new members of staff who do not qualify for the Government’s support scheme.

Front Of House Staff Hawksmoor
Staff at Hawksmoor will be supported

It is understood that The Jane Eyre took the decision to close after two of its staff tested positive. Both staff members had already been off with illness and every other member of staff tested negative, however to be safe the Ancoats bar decided to close for a week.

Porta in Salford also had to announce its closure, with a message on Instagram that said: “Crap news. We’re closing for 10 days as a member of staff has tested positive for Covid. The rest of the team have all since tested negative, but we will obviously isolate as per the guidance. Keeping everyone safe is top priority."

“Can’t believe I’m writing another ‘heavy hearts’ message. Let’s hope it’s the last.”

Porta 1
Ben and Joe Wright of Porta in Salford, which is temporarily closed

The response to bar and restaurant closures

Most commenters have been extremely supportive of the bars, lauding the decision to minimise risk as soon as possible, with comments such as, "Thank you for being so open and honest about it. Hope all your staff are ok."

Not everyone believes the moves are necessary, however. Sarah Price, of think tank CieoThinks, tweeted: “Stop testing your staff and you won’t have this problem. Ask them to stay home if they don’t feel well, otherwise come to work as normal. We’re never going to get out of this if we continue testing healthy people. The vulnerable have been double jabbed, time to move on.”

Government guidance says: “Staff members or customers should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell. If someone is self-isolating, employers must not ask or make them come to work.  It is an offence to do this.” Failure to comply with the guidance can result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £10,000. 

A decision to shut premises is taken by the owners under advice from Test and Trace, Public Health England and local public health authorities. Businesses that have been affected by COVID can report to Manchester City Council's Environmental Health team for further guidance and support.

Please keep checking on to all of the mentioned business's social media to find out if they have reopened.

Read now: 'The industry is at breaking point' - hospitality staffing crisis hits North West

Read next: Roadmap out of lockdown: What's the picture for hospitality?

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