‘Freedom Day’ boosts night-time footfall in Wakefield by a third

It's a cathedral city with an ancient past. But Wakefield is also a modern day party town.

For decades the pub crawl known as The Westgate run has been attracting those in search of a night out. 

And they've kept coming least the younger customers now restrictions have gone.

Young people have headed back to the bars here in Wakefield as elsewhere they've given a real boost to the night-time economy.

The latest data from Centre for Cities’ High Streets Recovery Tracker reveals that night-time footfall in the centres of the UK’s 63 largest cities and towns rose by 16 percentage points after the final lifting of restrictions.

And in Wakefield, they've had the fifth biggest rise at 32%

But, daytime worker footfall actually fell by 1 percentage point in the last week of July.

And for businesses like sandwich shops which rely on daytime trade, they're really struggling as office staff continue to work at home

Shaun's cafe depends on office staff buying a sandwich and a coffee. And those customers have simply vanished.

"We're running at 40-50% of what were doing pre-Covid which is unsustainable. We need to be running at around 70% to break even."

It's a mixed picture though. Mohammad's had a stall on the market for 41 years and says people are enjoying outdoor shopping.

"They feel comfortable outside, rather than going into shops. Coronavirus has brought more people here."

However, the school holidays and furlough could be masking the full reality of the situation.

So the figures in a couple of months time may paint a much clearer picture.