A Salford-based DJ says Tier 3 restrictions have been detrimental to the queer community in Salford.
Kolin Richmond-Hughes has said that because the Gay Village in Manchester is the closest place for socialising with other members of their community, it is leaving people feeling isolated.
Kolin said: “We have a Gay Village so gay people have somewhere to meet, to not feel so isolated and to hopefully meet someone or just make friends.
“With the current situation we find ourselves in, that just isn’t happening.”
He went on to talk about the struggles that he and many other DJs have faced under the strict Covid-19 guidelines.
He added: “It is devastating as a DJ to see tables on the dance floor and the house lights on in the venues. It is very depressing. Life without music is no fun at all and many DJs are having to go on to state benefits to get by.
“Bar staff are not able to work as many shifts as they used to, and any tips are then gone. This impacts their pay, causing more anxiety and stress for the bar staff and managers.”
Connor Meek, 24, is a recent graduate who is based in Salford.
He often went to Canal Street before the pandemic, and has said he feels ‘depressed’ since the bars closed last week.
Connor said: “I feel like Canal Street brings a sense of purpose for everyone. Its inclusivity allows people to come together, make friends and is the foundation of a community.
“Personally, with it closed, it made me feel so depressed.
“I want to know that I have the freedom to go to a place to feel enriched, have fun with my friends, drink and dance to escape from day-to-day life.”
It was rumoured yesterday that government officials are considering a potential plan B, which could include a ‘Tier 3 Plus’ or ‘Tier 4’ introducing extra restrictions if the current three tier system hasn’t made a difference by mid-November.
This could include shutting restaurants and non-essential retail such as clothes shops.
John Hamilton, 55, the owner of ‘Bar Pop’ in the village, shared Kolin’s fears of Tier 3 restrictions and criticised the difference in the government’s treatment of the north and south of the country in Tier 2.
John said: “It’s infuriating because up north, we have been in Tier 2 since August and we’ve been screaming from the rooftops for help, but after only one week of London being in Tier 2, the Government suddenly finds more funding for businesses in Tier 2.
“The sad thing is that northern businesses have closed in tier 2, people have lost their jobs because there wasn’t enough funding at the time, and now they (the Government) have had to backtrack and start awarding funds to northern businesses. The problem is if your business is closed already, it’s not going to make up for that!
“It’s like somebody had slashed our wrists and left the blood to drip out slowly.”
Despite the difficulties, John has found a way to keep all his staff throughout the pandemic, using government funding to top up their wagers, but not the full complement of their normal pay.
He added that the shift in the job market has shocked him.
He said: “Having a job at this time is like gold dust and it’s unbelievable the amount of people who’ve applied for part-time bar work. Normally you might get ten applications for a job, but now we get well over 200 for one position.”