Ghost town London: City centre’s normally-bustling streets stand empty with once-thriving bars and restaurants deserted on day one of capital’s new Tier 2 lockdown
- Kate Nicholls of UKHospitality said the industry saw 50% increase of cancellations due to restrictions
- London has been placed under Tier 2 level restrictions following rapid rise of infections in many boroughs
- Under new guidelines individuals from different households will be banned from mixing in hospitality venues
London’s normally-bustling streets stand empty with the once-thriving bars and restaurants deserted on day one of the capital’s new Tier 2 lockdown.
Restaurants in Covent Garden which would normally be busy with visitors lie empty due new restrictions brought in to stop the rise in coronavirus cases.
London has been placed under Tier 2 level restrictions following a rapid rise of infections in many boroughs in the city.
Industry bosses have warned 200,000 London hospitality workers will lose their jobs this weekend alone as businesses close their doors.
Restaurants in Covent Garden which would normally be packed with visitors lie empty due new restrictions brought in to stop the rise in coronavirus cases
London has been placed under Tier 2 level restrictions following a rapid rise of infections in many boroughs in the city, leaving venues deserted
Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced – more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs
Outdoor socially distanced mingling is permitted for groups of up to six but venues across the city were deserted on the first day of the Tier 2 restrictions
Local infection rates are being used to split parts of the country into one of three categories that will determine the restrictions in place in the region under the plan
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said the industry’s worst fears were confirmed as cancellations soared and revenues slumped dramatically.
Ms Nicholls said that revenue across bars and restaurants in central London plunged by 85% as less people took to venues.
She said: ‘The first day of Tier 2 restrictions saw the hospitality sector’s worst fears confirmed with a 50% increase in cancellations and a fall in forward bookings.
‘Venues across the capital saw significantly reduced footfall meaning revenues slumped by 85% in central London.
‘That is clearly unsustainable and businesses in London are now planning to close their doors and shutter their sites, with forecasts of up to 200,000 job losses unless enhanced JSS is extended.’
Ms Nicholls has pushed for the ‘job support scheme’, which requires employers to cough up 55 per cent of staff wages, to waive employer contributions and called for a tier-3 style funding for all hospitality in which venues hit by closures can get £3,000 cast grants.
Under the new guidelines individuals from different households in London, Essex, York and parts of Derbyshire, will be banned from mixing indoors, even in hospitality venues.
Outdoor socially distanced mingling is permitted for groups of up to six, meaning people from different households will be required to meet in beer gardens or at restaurants with outdoor seating.
Revellers made the most of their final night out over the weekend and descended onto London’s streets to enjoy bars and restaurants before the restrictions.
Almost a third of restaurants and pubs in England will be affected by the tougher tier curbs introduced – more than 8,500 venues and 5,000 pubs.
Restaurants in Covent Garden would normally be packed with visitors (pictured) before the Tier 2 restrictions meaning people from different households can’t meet indoors
Busy bars and restaurants in the capital had already seen restrictions like the 10pm curfew before Tier 2 was introduced
Pubs which serve very little food are expected to have suffered the most through the pandemic so far, due to not having benefitted from the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which saw a cut on food VAT.
Industry bosses previously estimated 300,000 hospitality jobs would be lost in the absence of an industry bailout by government.
But Ms Nicholls prediction of 200,000 jobs to be lost in central London this weekend alone means the total could be much higher.
Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September
Party-goers opted to spend a night in pubs and bars last night in Soho, London, before the capital is placed under tighter coronavirus lockdown restrictions
Groups of friends enjoy their time together in the outdoor area of a restaurant and bar at the weekend, which is still permitted under Tier 2