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, meaning meeting people who live in other households indoors is banned.
Venues can continue to operate but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and they must close at 10pm.
Industry bosses have warned 200,000 London hospitality workers will lose their jobs this weekend alone as businesses close their doors.
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 under new restrictions.
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.
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
‘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.
Ms Nicholls said: ‘Being moved into tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier 3. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.
‘Venues in London have already taken a hit due to the dip in inbound tourism and with people increasingly working from home.
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
Wetherspoon boss blasts 10pm curfew after chain suffers £105million loss
By Mark Duell for MailOnline
Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin today renewed his attack on the Government after the pub chain suffered a £105million loss following a 30 per cent drop in sales.
Mr Martin said it was unfair that pubs have been treated harsher than supermarkets as he revealed sales fell from £1.82billion to £1.26billion in the year to July 26, 2020.
Publishing the company’s delayed results, he added that the UK should adopt the Swedish model for pandemics to allow his pubs to open again properly, a system which he said ’emphasises social distancing, hygiene and trust in the people’.
The company also announced a further 108 job cuts at its head office, having already said it would cut up to 130 jobs at its HQ and up to 450 at airport concessions.
Mr Martin, quoting businessman Warren Buffett from 1989, said governments across the world have based their lockdown decisions on ‘deeply flawed analysis’.
He claimed Swedish Professor Johan Giesecke is the epidemiologist equivalent and the UK should follow his lead, which would allow Wetherspoon to reopen pubs.
‘A move into tier 2 will now be catastrophic for some of them and it is only going to be made worse by the end of the furlough scheme in under two weeks.’
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.
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.
This comes as Britain recorded its highest number of coronavirus deaths in four months after another 150 victims were announced today.
Department of Health statistics show the grim milestone hasn’t been reached since June 10 when 164 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths were announced.
It is also a surge of 85 per cent compared to last Saturday, when 81 deaths were registered, and a rise of 16 from yesterday’s toll of 136 victims.
Health chiefs today posted another 16,171 cases, up only six per cent on the figure recorded last Saturday (15,166), in a sign that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak may be beginning to slow.
As many as 15,650 more positive tests were added to the tally yesterday.
Although still rising, the number of deaths from the virus remains miles off the levels seen at the height of the pandemic when more than 1,000 were being registered every day at the beginning of April.
The Prime Minister unveiled the new coronavirus three-tier lockdown system on Monday.
Liverpool was immediately put into Tier 3, the highest level, with Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham among cities being ranked as Tier 2, or ‘high’ risk.
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
Some 136 deaths were recorded yesterday, but scientists have warned this could rise to 690 by the end of the month
Tier 1 restrictions, which the majority of England have been placed under, are believed to mirror the rules currently in place across the country.
It includes the rule of six, a 10pm curfew, group sport to be played outdoors only and a maximum of 15 guests at wedding ceremonies.
Under Tier 2 restrictions, households are also banned from meeting indoors, even in hospitality venues.
Two households are allowed to socialise outdoors but must stay within the six-person limit and adhere to social distancing.
Under these regulations, residents are not banned from travelling to a Tier 1 area, but are advised to minimise the number of journeys they make.
Draconian Tier 3 regulations have seen restaurants close at 10pm, pubs and bars being ordered to close and households have been banned from mixing indoors or outdoors.
Locals are advised to only leave their areas for essential travel, including work and education, and overnight stays outside of ‘high’ risk areas are banned.
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