The owners of Hackney’s most celebrated new-wave wine bars and restaurants — P.Franco, Bright, and Peg — have announced the closure of two of its three wine bars and restaurants with immediate effect, the latest in a fast growing number of London restaurant businesses to take drastic action in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. For now, P.Franco, which operates principally as a retail wine store during the week, will remain open for takeaway off-sales; it will suspend its evening food service (currently Thursday to Sunday), while Peg and Bright will close for in-restaurant service today for an unknown period of time.
Owner Phil Bracey wrote on Peg and Bright’s Instagram accounts that the group was “gutted to write this update,” adding that it had “joined many of our peers and made the decision to close for dining at Bright & Peg, effective immediately and for an unknown period of time for now.”
“We’re trying to maintain some form of positivity, however the reality of the situation is that we’re simply unable to guarantee a safe workspace for our staff or safe haven for diners to come in and eat with us,” he wrote. Like others, furious and dismayed by the goverment’s lack of provision for the industry, he expressed frustration that they themselves had been forced to take the initiative. “The science of it all is clear, even if the UK government is unwilling to take action to close us officially.”
Bracey added that his main concern was reserved for the staff members whose situation beyond the end of the month remained unknown. “Obviously we’re upset about the restaurant but what is truly distressing is what this means for our staff. At this stage we’re paying them for the rest of the month and beyond that the truth of the matter is we simply don’t know.”
More updates are expected to come soon as the team works on solutions for collection-only and delivery. “Like so many venues, we’re regrouping today to consider what we can still offer to the public in a safe way,” he wrote. “We hope this will be in the form of a takeaway food and wine offering from some or all of our sites that will prioritize no physical contact and only cashless payment. We’ll be updating about what that might look like as soon as possible. Stay healthy and thank you for all the messages of support we’ve already received, more information to come soon.”
For the moment, Bracey told Eater the group was aiming to get food pick-up from Peg and Bright arranged for this coming Thursday.