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Still, There Is No Clarity on Reopening: Last Week in the London Restaurant World

Restaurants in the U.K. have still not been given clear guidance on when they can reopen

The Marksman in Hackney — one of London’s best pubs — remains closed, like many other hospitality businesses in London
The Marksman in Hackney remains closed, like many other hospitality businesses in London
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Last week, the restaurants and pubs in the U.K. were left none the wiser about when and how they could reopen for dine-in customers. There were those that returned in limited capacity, while others announced they would not reopen at all, citing ongoing uncertainty and the inability to comply with social distancing measures.

This week, it was more of the same: Confusion and uncertainty remains, with the government still not offering any clarity on the opening date for hospitality. In that context, more, big-name restaurants were forced to announce permanent closure at their current premises, and yet there are those who continue to innovate, adapt, and return to the communities that need them.

The government did end the week by offering restaurants a short-term reprieve on rent, an issue which continues to threaten many business’ long-term ability to operate. Alongside the publication of its “code of practice” for tenants and landlords to negotiate new terms, it has extended the period in which evictions are prevented from taking place — from the end of June until the 30 September.

Here’s what happened in the London food and restaurant world this week, in brief.

  • Who does the London restaurant industry actually serve? That is a question Eater contributor Jonathan Nunn sought to answer in a long-read about the panoply of cuisines and longstanding restaurant communities of the Old Kent Road.

  • In the week that the Premier League returned, Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford educated the government on matters they ought to understand themselves. Rashford forced Boris Johnson into an embarrassing u-turn on a decision not to support 1.3 million children with free meal vouchers this summer.

  • A group of cross-party MPs found that the government’s furlough scheme had disadvantaged many in the hospitality industry. The exclusion of tronc (service charge payments) from wages in applications had dramatically reduced the amount restaurant staff, unable to work due to COVID-19, had received. It must be amended, the treasury committee concluded.

  • One thing that could save restaurants in the short-term is the ability to trade outside, where the rate of transmission of the coronavirus is thought to be lower. As such, a massive outdoor dining scheme — involving road closures and temporary licenses — for businesses in central London was announced this week by Westminster council, plans which could aid businesses in Soho, Chinatown, and the wider West End.


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Kaieteur Kitchen

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The Ledbury

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Indian Accent

Lodhi Road, CGO Complex, DL 110003 098711 17968 Visit Website