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Sadiq Khan Says Follow Rules or Risk London Moving Into Tier 3 Coronavirus Restrictions

Case numbers have risen across the capital, meaning restaurants could be forced to close before Christmas

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Smoking Goat’s menu and safety notice in the window of the restaurant — one of London’s best Thai restaurants’ safety precautions during the covid-19 pandemic
A menu and safety notice in the window of Smoking Goat in Shoreditch
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged Londoners to continue to follow coronavirus rules or risk seeing the capital move into tier three restrictions — and the closure of restaurants — before Christmas, as official figures show that cases are rising in more than two-thirds of London boroughs.

Khan tweeted: “This is important. We still have a long winter ahead. None of us want London to move into Tier 3. Please continue to follow the rules — lives and livelihoods truly are dependent on it.” Big Hospitality reports that Neil Pattison who runs the jobs site said London moving into tier three would “devastate the hospitality industry.”

Tier three restrictions would represent a fresh “lockdown” in all but name — resulting in the closure of all hospitality venues. But, like under lockdown, in tier three, businesses would be allowed to remain open for takeaway, click-and-collect, and delivery.

The Mayor’s comments came after new data revealed coronavirus infections were on the rise in more than 65 percent of London boroughs, with those in east London particularly affected. City A.M. reported that in Bromley infection rates rose 40 percent in the last week of lockdown, while “spikes of 25 per cent or more were recorded in Bexley, Hackney, Harrow, Kingston and Merton.” It added that cases were thought to be rising more sharply in the under-18s and over-60s than other age groups.

The impact of tier two coronavirus restrictions on London restaurants has been well-documented, even if the pre-lockdown 10 p.m. curfew has been ditched. Under the rules, indoor dining is permitted for groups only from the same household or support bubble; outside, groups from different households are permitted to meet, but must abide by the “rule of six.” A greater impact is felt by pubs under tier two restrictions, as venues must serve “substantial meals” and are not permitted to sell alcohol without food.

Even those that are open have voiced concerns over their ability to trade at anything approaching normal levels at one of the busiest times of the year. Trade body UK Hospitality warned last week that unless businesses were given urgent financial support, nine months of furlough and grants could be wasted, and that compensation for lost earnings over Christmas should be forthcoming.

London will learn whether or not it enters tier three or remains in tier two next week, on Wednesday 16 December.