Friday 16 October 2020 2:37 pm

London lockdown: 200,000 hospitality workers to lose jobs this weekend, industry body warns

About 200,000 hospitality workers in central London will lose their jobs this weekend as tier 2 coronavirus lockdown restrictions are imposed, the industry body’s chief executive has warned.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the tier 2 lockdown, which prohibits people from separate households from mixing, is a “maximum squeeze on revenue with no support”.

Read more: London lockdown: Will the City’s small businesses survive new restrictions?

She said it would be better for some businesses in central London to be forced to close under tier 3 restrictions in order to access government funding 

“If you go into level three you are getting support if you are closed so at least we would have something to pay the teams and a grant to cover overheads and costs,” Nicholls told the BBC.

“So for businesses in this part of the capital it would probably be better to be closed. 

“The pain of tier two is that you have no government support, and that’s what we need the government to urgently address.

“Otherwise you are going to have about 200,000 people in central London losing their jobs this weekend.”

Pret a Manger has already announced today that the second wave of infection and subsequent lockdown has led to it cutting a further 400 roles in London, on top of the more than 2,000 jobs axed since the pandemic began. 

Yesterday Nicholls said the London lockdown restrictions would be the “death knell” for the industry. 

Meanwhile, Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, said central London will be particularly impacted by the lockdown as people reduce public transport use.

“With no non-household mixing allowed indoors and a reduction in journeys on public transport requested, Tier 2 will hit London’s hospitality sector hard, particularly in its centre,” he said.

lRead more: What the new London lockdown measures mean for YOU

“There is bound to also be an impact on retail.

“Hospitality businesses are between the rock and hard place. Their trade is impacted by the restrictions, yet there’s not sufficient support available to help them to stay open. 

“Many would rather be in a Tier 3 area, as at least if they were required to close by law they would be able to access grants and the more generous furlough scheme.”