The latest coronavirus lockdown’s end date in England is not going to be set for some time, and London’s restaurants remain closed. It’s still a waiting game — but with the need for timelines on financial support and lockdown getting more jittery, things are slowly changing in the city.
- The week began with a reminder of the size of the hospitality world, and the multitudes within it. A new report from the Office of National Statistics showed that U.K. GDP declined 2.6 percent in November 2020, with the closure of restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars, and hotels responsible for 0.9 percent of that decline. That’s just over one third.
- It ended with a reminder of the impact that uncertainty has on restaurants and their workers. A conflation of comments from Boris Johnson and scientific modelling on the end of lockdown in the U.K. has led to full mobilisation of the rumour mill. Here’s what’s actually known about when coronavirus lockdown might end in the U.K., and what it means for restaurants.
- Lockdown dates are one thing; there are more pressing milestones ahead. On 31 March, the holiday on business rates, the cut in VAT from 20 percent to 5 percent, and rent eviction protections all run out. Rishi Sunak is yet to set out whether or not they will be extended, and the longer that goes on, more restaurants will have to take decisions on staffing and even operations based on the fact that no relief is forthcoming. If it turns out it is, there could be job losses and closures that were avoidable. There is an expectation, however, that the furlough scheme will be extended into summer.
- VAT appears on pretty much every restaurant bill, but it’s not the most obvious source of help to restaurants for diners. Three London operators share how the tax reduction is keeping their businesses going.
- One restaurant feeling that pinch is Adejoké Bakare’s Chishuru, which was one of the best new restaurants of 2020 despite being open for six weeks out of 52.
- MPs again voted not to enshrine U.K. food standards in law, leaving consumers to trust the government’s word on imports after Brexit.
- And Michelin, the rubber restaurant overlord, is doling out its U.K. stars next week — attempting to offer a dose of its own version of Eurocentric, gaffe-laden normality.
Dining guides for staying in this weekend...
- The best dishes Eater writers ate this week, and how to get them at home.
- The best restaurants for delivery and takeaway.
- The best meal kits from London restaurants.
- How to ship a taste of London’s restaurants nationwide.
- What London’s standout 38 restaurants are doing right now.
- The best bakeries in London for takeaway pastries and bread.
- 10 brilliant burgers for lockdown.
- And where to order takeaway and delivery in...
- central London.
- north London.
- west London.
- east London.
- south east London.
- south west London.
- Where to buy produce, meat, fish, pantry items, wine, and beer.
- And some gear to make great coffee at home.
Until next week, eat well and be safe.