London move to Tier 3 puts “disproportionate burden” on hospitality businesses, trade body says

Some restaurant leaders also issued concerns.

Businesses will be pushed towards failure and more jobs will be put at risk as a result of moving London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire into tier 3, according to UKHospitality.

The trade body described the government’s tier system as placing an “unfair, illogical and disproportionate burden on hospitality businesses without effectively tackling COVID.”

“Putting hospitality businesses back into lockdown, which is effectively what tier 3 amounts to, is not going to tackle increasing infection rates,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said in a statement.

“There’s still no hard evidence that hospitality venues are a significant contributor for the spike in infections. Cases were higher at the end of the last lockdown – during which hospitality was shut down – than at the start. The spread is being predominantly driven through schools – even the Mayor of London has pointed this out and called for schools to stay shut until January. Yet, once again, it is hospitality that will take the hit.”

Nicholls added that the government is “cracking down on hospitality for an increase in the infection rates that occurred during a period when hospitality was forcibly closed.”

“It makes no sense,” she said. “So many pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, having invested so much to make their venues safe, are only just clinging on by the skin of their teeth, but will be forced to take another huge hit.”

Nicholls then urged government to “re-think its strategy to combating the spread of COVID”, including moving areas like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham into Tier 2. Just continuing to batter hospitality is not the answer,” she concluded.

Restaurant leaders have also expressed their concerns regarding London’s move to Tier 3.

“[T]o close restaurants and cancel bookings in what is normally the busiest week of the year would feel like an almost gratuitous kick in the teeth to London restaurants,” CEO and co-founder of the D&D London restaurant group Des Gunewardena said.

“Putting London into Tier 3 is essentially a third lockdown; each time this happens we are talking about significant losses, as well as more valuable time eaten up dealing with suppliers and landlords for further concessions, when we should be looking forward,” Dirty Bones co-founder Cokey Sulkin added.

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