Three of London’s elite restaurant groups closed their doors within hours last night, with Hawksmoor steak restaurants, prominent mixed group D&D, and masters of low-key luxury Corbin and King all announcing shutdowns in the wake of novel coronavirus’ impact on the London restaurant industry.
Hawksmoor co-founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott frankly explained that they had “had to end the employment of some of the wonderful people who work at Hawksmoor. We have tried to treat those people as fairly as possible, paying full notice and we are trying to give them every guidance on how they can get extra support during these difficult times. We have also told them that what has happened today doesn’t prevent them in any way from being part of the company again in the future and we will stay in touch with them to offer any support and information we can.”
The group operates six restaurants across the city.
D&D announced the news on Instagram, which many restaurants have turned to as a source of news and community, writing that “It’s been a really tough decision but the safety of you, our team and wider community is of the utmost importance. Once we’re back up and running, we absolutely cannot wait to see you all again.”
The group operates 27 restaurants across the city.
Corbin and King tweeted news of its closures until further notice. “Under the circumstances, this move was inevitable,” they wrote. “Our priority now is to look after our staff and ensure that we remain in the best possible shape, ready to re-open as soon as is possible.”
These closures came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new social distancing measures for London, which effectively told the public to stay away from restaurants, as well as clubs, pubs, theatres and other social spaces to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Subsequently, and following widespread dismay from the industry, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £330 billion in guaranteed loans designed to support businesses, including restaurants, measures which do not yet stipulate provisions for laid-off workers or a moratorium on restaurant rents. But it remains to be seen to what extent this is going to assist an industry in the middle of an unprecedented crisis.
The group operates six restaurants across the city and has three lined up to open in 2020.
Follow this running list of London restaurants’ responses to COVID-19 for constant updates.