It’s left many our city’s bars and restaurants operating at a loss at what should be their busiest time of year.
And now many have decided to call it a day until the new year.
Posting that the ‘Big C has cancelled Xmas’, renowned Green Quarter restaurant The Sparrows wrote: “Sadly due to members of staff testing positive for Covid -19 we are making a decision to close The Sparrows until 1st of January 2022.
“We are very sorry to cause any inconvenience to anyone’s festive plans, but customers’ safety and our team’s wellbeing are the priority.
“For the Love for Spätzle we will be looking forward to seeing you all in a New Year! Please stay safe! Take care of yourselves and the ones around you this Christmas.”
Independent wine bar Isca, in Levenshulme, has also had to switch up its offering in a bid to keep its team Covid-free for Christmas.
They wrote: “As the madness returns and grows around us we have decided to close Isca for sitting in until next year.
“We are doing all we can to keep everyone safe, and want our team to be able to enjoy Christmas without catching Covid.”
They later added: “It really saddens us to not be able serve you some delicious wines + food at Isca in the run up to Christmas but we think it’s for the best in our small space.”
The Stockport Road bar remains open as a takeaway and as a shop, selling wine, gifts and cheeses.
Back in the city centre, Northern Soul’s new hot dog venture Dust Dogs has had to shut temporarily just weeks after it launched.
They said it was down to ‘current Covid news, staffing issues and a short Christmas week’, promising to be back 2022 ‘bigger, better and proper’.
A separate post highlighed the struggles facing hospitality right now.
They wrote: “F*** I WE WISH WE COULD BE OPEN !!
“We should be absolutely flying in the new place but the reality is, hospitality has been hit for 60% of lost trade.
“It turns out we made the right decision, too many factors at play to push the last week.”
Kala, part of Gary Usher’s Elite Bistros empire, won’t be reopening until after Christmas either, saying that it has ‘too many staff isolating’.
Student favourite The Font is facing a similar situation after a positive Covid case in its team, saying that the decision to close early ‘wasn’t taken lightly but is the best one as the physical & mental wellbeing of our team & customers is priority’.
Enormous Swan Street venue Ramona has closed its kitchens and reverted to a drinks-only venue as it winds down for the Christmas break.
Hosting just the second ‘Raise the Roof’ fundraising concert in over three years – the pandemic having put a pause on the initiative – the money generated will go towards providing a safe place to sleep to thousands in around the Manchester area.
The Middleton-born musician confirmed the date on Tuesday.
While Fray is currently the only name confirmed to be playing this year’s gig, his popularity in the city alone is sure to drive thousands to iconic Manchester venue for this great cause.
Most importantly, not only will all ticket sales go towards the A Bed Every Night drive, but so too will the proceeds from the re-release of the band’s debut album, St Jude, dropping on the same day as the gig.
The Mayor’s Charity has held a number of hugely successful campaigns already this year, including their annual 24 Run Against Homelessness as well as Mayor Andy Burnham‘s second night DJing at the one and only Warehouse Project.
Speaking in an official press release, Burnham spoke about the spoke about “the power of music to get people together and raise vital funds” for causes like combatting homelessness.
He went on to say that despite all the money already raised this year, “there’s more still to do and we know the cost of living crisis has started to impact on people’s housing”, adding: “We’re a musical city, so what better way to help those who need it but with a night with the incredible Liam Fray.”
Responding to Burnham’s thanks on Twitter, Fray had a simple message:
Over 4,000 unique individuals have been supported by A Bed Every Night since 2019, with more than 600 people now supplied with accommodation across the region who would otherwise be at risk of sleeping rough.
The Mayor’s campaign works with 21 different organisations across Greater Manchester helping provide a safe place to sleep to the homeless and those in needs on a regular basis. Wonderful stuff.
How to help in Manchester if you see someone homeless in the freezing cold
Whilst much has been done over the past few years to improve options for people who find themselves homeless in Greater Manchester, it’s still a huge problem – felt especially hard when the temperature drops.
The Met Office has forecast lows of -3 that will last across the weekend into early next week, whilst health officials have told people to put their heating on, despite rising costs. But some don’t even have the option to do that.
In the UK last year, 1,286 people died while homeless according to the Museum of Homelessness (MoH) Dying Homeless Project.
As a general rule, there are no legal protections for people sleeping rough in England. Most councils offer extra beds when temperatures are forecast to drop below 0ºC for three consecutive nights.
Fortunately here in Manchester, there is more support at hand.
What support does Manchester offer homeless people in freezing weather?
Manchester is the first major metropolitan area in the country to promise help as soon as the temperature drops below 0ºC.
Shelters are opened up in and around the city centre as soon as one night of freezing temperatures is forecast, and stay open until temperatures rise back up above zero, giving everyone a warm place to rest.
Accommodation varies from hostel ‘sit up’ spaces to an emergency shelter run by local charity Coffee4Craig for the council, where people are provided with sleeping bags, mats, armchairs and even a TV. And when space runs out in the hostels, people are given a hotel room for the night.
There is also the Mayor’s flagship A Bed Every Night scheme, which looks to offer a bed, hot meal and support for anyone sleeping rough in Greater Manchester at any time of year – regardless of the weather.
What can I do to help someone?
If you’re concerned about someone, you can contact your local authority via one of the numbers below.
Alternatively, you can use this tool to view the services on offer in your area.