Stages 3 and 4 of the roadmap are planned for May 17th and June 21st respectivelyJuliet Babinsky

The relaxing of government guidelines towards COVID-19 restrictions means non-essential retail, restaurants, libraries and hairdressers have been able to open across England. In Cambridge, this has facilitated the return of a lively city centre.

Looking forward to May 17th and June 21st, the lifting of lockdown restrictions will allow the return of University students and in-person teaching. Stage 3 of lockdown permits indoor hospitality services and the opening of cinemas and hotels. Finally, by Stage 4, commencing on June 21st, the government hopes to have lifted all legal limits of social contact.

The Cambridge City Council is set to play a part in the re-opening, as Councillor Rosy Moore explained, “We have some funding from the Combined Authority to give to businesses who apply for outdoor seating. It won’t be available from April 12th but should be there soon.”

These outdoor seating grants will allow restaurants around Cambridge to continue custom whilst we are still in Stage 2 of the lockdown recovery.

Max Freeman, Managing Director of the restaurant Cambridge Smokeworks, expressed that lockdown had a significant impact on the hospitality industry. He told Varsity, “The near on closures of most of the last 12 months has impacted cash flow and confidence severely. The furlough scheme has been a lifesaver, as has the various grants, but none of these can counter the debt burden that the hospitality will have to carry out of the pandemic.”

In terms of the precautions in place to allow customers back to restaurants, Freeman explained that Smokeworks “implemented a 10 point COVID-safety plan, to ensure all staff and customers felt safe and comfortable.” This plan includes regular temperature checks, single-use menus, anti-bacterial gel on all tables and masks worn at all times.

Meanwhile, libraries in the University town have also been allowed to lift some restrictions due to the progressing roadmap. Cambridgeshire libraries had previously operated a click and collect policy. This has changed to mean book-lovers can once again browse the shelves of the County’s libraries from last Monday.

Gary Porter, Head of Libraries, Archives and Culture for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming people back through the doors of our libraries, and giving them the opportunity to browse the shelves and choose their own books.”

On adapting to COVID-19 regulations, Porter continued: “Of course, everyone’s safety is our priority, so we have put measures in place to make sure that people feel confident and secure in using our library services. For example, we have had to introduce a maximum capacity for each building so you may have to queue at busy times.”

At the Cambridge Market, the return of clothes and gifting stalls have been permitted, with second-hand bookstall ‘Bookish Cambridge’ one of the first stalls to return.

Whilst some parts of Cambridge life are returning, residents will have to wait until May 17th for the chance to see in-person theatre or visit museums. With this in mind, the Cambridge cultural scene has benefitted from the government’s cultural recovery fund, receiving £1.5 million in total.

These funds have gone towards the Cambridge Museum and the University’s Museums, such as the Fitzwilliam and Sedgewick. Theatres such as the ADC and Cambridge Art’s Theatre have also been granted much-needed funds for recovery.

While indoor performances are not yet able to occur, Cambridge residents can get their entertainment fix from College choirs. Peter Foggitt, Director of Music at Emmanuel College, clarified that under guidance from the government and the Royal School of Church Music, they can perform at congregations.

He told Varsity: “We hope that people will, seeing the extensive provision being made for Covid safety, feel comfortable attending chapel services in their colleges: even if you have no religious inclination at all, the buildings are beautiful, the singing is excellent, and the atmosphere is like nowhere else (in a good way).”

Foggitt shared his excitement that from May 17th, Emmanuel Choir hopes to host various outdoor events “using the front court, the marquee, and other available spaces, if permission is granted.

Cambridge students will also have Union events to look forward to this term, as the Easter Term Card has recently been announced. Events will be online and accessible to all through the Cambridge Union’s YouTube page, with in-person but socially distanced events resuming from May 17th.


Mountain View

MASH Cambridge: Fez refurbished to create new nightclub

Many students in Cambridge are counting down the days to June 21st, when, according to the Government road map, nightclubs will be allowed to re-open in Cambridge. The clubbing scene will look remarkably different following the closure of student favourites, Fez and Cindies.

All hope is not lost, as students are excited to return to the Cambridge classic Sunday Life and Grandma Groove at Revolution. They also eagerly await the opening of the new club ‘MASH’ at Fez’s old location, a club that promises a “vastly improved dancefloor” and a focus on inclusion and creating a “safe place.”

Following over a year of lockdown life, Cambridge students anticipate the return of some normality. Second-year student Tash Wren explained that she is most looking forward to “being able to go clubbing, to the pub, and host friends from other colleges.”

Engineering student Max Rose echoed this sentiment: “I can’t wait to see the return of formals, college bars and night clubs. The past year has very much been focussed on work, without the traditional Cambridge ways to relax and have fun.”