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Chloe Shakesby

"A hammer blow to all hospitality": Businesses react to London's new Tier 3 restrictions

Business leaders from across London have commented on the impending Tier 3 restrictions for the region.

With the area’s entertainment and hospitality venues likely to be the most affected by the increased restrictions, figures from the sectors spoke out on the impact of the decision.

Michael Kill, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA)

“Today’s news will come as a huge blow for the night time economy and hospitality businesses across London.

“For London to be moved to the highest tier of Covid-19 restrictions when a small proportion of businesses have just reopened their doors is extremely difficult”

“As pubs, restaurants and bars close their doors again for the third time this year, and clubs and venues remain closed, the government must put a stronger compensation package in place to help those businesses and individuals who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Given that only 20 per cent of businesses within the sector are currently open, we once again are angered by the disproportionate restrictions levied against the sector, given the rise in cases within education and other areas which have remained open, policy decisions which are affecting people’s lives.”

Chris Biggs, Theta Global Advisors

“With Tier 3 coming into force tonight across the capital and much of the commuter belt, the new restrictions will once again, change how the capital operates, with many workers both in the city and the hospitality sector that caters for them being forced back home.

“This period will act as another reminder that the work-life balance of pre-covid employment may not have been ideal and a new working structure may be what thousands of city workers need.

“With the risks that also come from commuting as well as working in densely populated offices, many may see this year as the catalyst for change.

“The world of work has changed immeasurably over 2020 but far more must be done to ensure that such a vital section of the workforce can work in a way that allows them to be productive and prioritise the needs of their families effectively.

“Companies could risk losing some of their best talent to either more flexible company cultures or freelance and consultancy work if they do not react to the new normal of professional practices.”

Cokey Sulkin, Dirty Bones

“You can’t put a price on people’s lives but moving London into tier 3 will be a hammer blow to all hospitality businesses in London.

“We have all been working incredibly hard, doing what we can to focus on a productive and profitable December.

“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 - putting our post Covid-19 business plans into motion.”

Laith Khalaf, AJ Bell

“The latest data provides a picture of activity in the labour market before an effective vaccine was announced and that news in itself may serve to save some jobs, as it gives businesses a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

“However, the outlook is still for rising unemployment and London’s move into a Tier 3 zone further undermines business and job security and highlights how the economy is still vulnerable to the ebb and flow of the pandemic.

“The OBR expects unemployment to peak at 7.5 per cent in the second quarter next year, which unfortunately means significantly more job losses in the next few months.”

Shaftesbury

“As London prepares to enter the highest tier of restrictions it feels like a pretty bleak time to be owning West End properties.

“That is the brutal reality faced by Shaftesbury, landlord of fashionable restaurants, bars and shops in Soho, Covent Garden and Chinatown.

“Unlike some other parts of the real estate market it’s hard to see a swift recovery in valuations and rental income for Shaftesbury because of the reliance of that part of London on tourism.

“Even in the most optimistic ‘reopening’ scenario, international travel at scale could be one of the last things to make a comeback.

“Global rollout of a vaccine could be patchy and different countries could face very different experiences with the pandemic next year.

“Plus people might remain reluctant to travel overseas even if they’re allowed to, with the still uncertain outcome of Brexit another complicating factor.

“For its part Shaftesbury, which reported an annual loss running into the hundreds of millions, expects some level of restrictions to last for most of 2021.

“At least it is not attempting to deny reality and, with a big recent fundraise and covenant waivers from lenders, the company has done what it can to allow the business to survive this period of extreme stress.

“There is one bright spot, with a report of an increase in leasing interest. This suggests that for tenants prepared to look beyond Covid, the West End remains an attractive spot to occupy.”

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