LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that allowing restaurants to remain open beyond 10pm would support businesses by allowing them to increase bookings even with indoor mixing of households banned.
His intervention comes after leading West End bar and restaurant operators warned they will not survive the winter after the “horrendous” first weekend of the new Tier 2 clampdown triggered tens of thousands of cancellations.
According to an Evening Standard report, the new measures were the latest hammer blow to hit London’s huge hospitality industry after a series of law changes, including both the 10pm curfew and the rule of six, which operators say have made it impossible for them to make money.
In a statement, Mr Khan said: “I have said for a while that the current curfew rule needs to be rapidly reviewed. We saw the worrying consequences of increased social mixing on the streets and on public transport in the capital around 10pm immediately after its introduction.
“Now London and other parts of the country have moved into Tier 2 and higher restrictions, which prohibit household mixing, the current 10pm curfew policy makes even less sense and should be scrapped.
“Immediately scrapping the 10pm curfew would allow more sittings of single households in restaurants throughout the evening, helping with cashflow at a time when venues need all the support they can get.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock ruled last week that London would be designated a “high risk” region from midnight on Friday , banning people from different households meeting indoors to combat the spread of the virus.
The normally heaving streets were left desolate on Saturday and Sunday following the imposition of tough new “no mixing” laws that resulted in up to 75 per cent of bookings being scrapped. Central London appeared to have been hit far harder than suburban neighbourhoods where family and household groups are more likely to make up the majority of diners.