LEGAL | Staff Reporter, UK

Gov't announces tighter trading restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says new restrictions are likely to be in place for 6 months.

The UK government has announced additional restrictions on the hospitality trade.

Revealing the new measures in Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that there will be a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants in England starting Thursday.

He has also asked office workers who can work from home to do so, adding that people should expect these restrictions to last for at least 6 months, with stricter moves likely if the ‘R’ rate, or infection rate, does not fall below ‘1’.

Whilst mooted over recent days, the moves will deal a significant blow to city centre businesses just starting to re-open over the March lockdown.

“A 10pm curfew on our restaurants will be very damaging. Since reopening, we have been very reliant on the strength of our weekend business, much of which is later evening. This has mitigated the impact of early and midweek business which has been much more challenging with the absence of office workers and tourists,” D&D CEO and co-founder Des Gunewardena said.

“Our large West End restaurants such as Quaglino’s and 100 Wardour Street which only reopened a few weeks ago will be particularly hard hit. This move is a kick in the teeth for central London and in particular the West End where footfall was gradually starting to increase.”

Jack Stein, chef director of the Rick Stein Group, added: “I think they are right to impose tighter restrictions on areas where there is a dangerously high rate, however that isn't us, so it's a tough pill to swallow. Once again, we're relying on the government to take the scientific advice and form policy to minimise a second wave and help us reopen fully as soon as we can.”

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