London is set to be placed under Tier 2 restrictions after the national lockdown ends next week, Sadiq Khan has said.
The mayor said placing the capital back in Tier 2 would be the “right and sensible decision”, but added the final verdict would be made on Thursday based on the latest Covid-19 figures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the lockdown will end next Wednesday and will be replaced by the three-tier system.
However, the rules in each of these three tiers have been tightened in a bid to stem the spread of the virus over the Christmas period.
In a statement today Khan said he was lobbying the government for London to be placed in Tier 2 and had “raised this with ministers”.
“Thanks to the monumental efforts and sacrifices of Londoners we have managed to keep the number of cases lower in our city than most other parts of the country since the summer,” he said.
“London going into tier 2 next week would seem the right and sensible decision. The cases in London are lower than other parts of the country expected to enter Tier 2.”
The latest figures show London has recorded 187.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days. This is well below levels in Yorkshire and the north east, where there have been more than 330 cases.
Under the new system, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open in Tiers 1 and 2, but can only open for takeaway and delivery in Tier 3.
Tier 2 restrictions will also require pubs and bars to serve “substantial meals”.
Hospitality firms in the capital have warned that Tier 3 restrictions would be the “final nail in the coffin”, with one restaurateur telling City A.M. the strictest tier was nothing more than a “glorified lockdown”.
Khan today said that London’s leisure and hospitality sector had suffered an “extremely tough year”.
“If they had to close throughout the Christmas period and beyond in Tier 3 it would be a hammer blow that many might not recover from,” he said.
“Without a substantially more generous package of financial aid from the government closing much of London’s hospitality sector through December and potentially well into the New Year would cause irreversible damage for many of our businesses and for the whole country’s economy.”