Boris Johnson announced his coronavirus lockdown reopening roadmap on Monday 22 February. For London’s restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars, it was a timeline — subject to change — against which they could build some plans. But now another date looms large in the calendar: 3 March, when chancellor Rishi Sunak announces which financial support will, hopefully, get those businesses and their workers to spring.
- The week began with the “reopening roadmap” for restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars after coronavirus lockdown. Assuming four tests for the status of the coronavirus epidemic in England are met, restaurants can reopen for outdoor dining on 12 April, with indoor dining returning on 17 May.
- To reopen on those dates, restaurants need continued financial support. It’s still crunch time, with Rishi Sunak’s Budget on 3 March key to their survival. With the tax relief on business rates; cut on VAT from 20 percent to 5 percent; and job-retaining furlough scheme all up for expiry in the next two months, their renewal is vital for restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars. Without them, many will close before they have the chance to reopen.
- Reopening means a lot of things, depending on which restaurateurs and workers you ask. In a two-part series, restaurants first explained what reopening means to them; then they explained what they need to make it to spring.
- With dates come expectations; with expectations come clamour; and with clamour comes memory of the scheme Sunak touted to get restaurants back on their feet in summer 2020: Eat Out to Help Out. While it brought in revenue and reluctant diners, the reopening of 2020 is very different to this one.
- Part of the case against a knee-jerk discount boom is the evolution of other markets, including meal kits. What started as a thrown-together lifeline is now a maturing, interesting new frontier for what constitutes a restaurant — but will dining in survive the return of dining in?
- Another hot new thing that will be returning for 2021 is dining on the streets of central London, with Westminster Council reprising its on-street plans which transformed Soho, Chinatown, Fitzrovia, and more central neighbourhoods.
- The Supreme Court upheld a case against ride-sharing and food delivery behemoth Uber, which enshrines the rights of its car drivers as workers. The ruling — which entitles thousands to backpay for minimum wage and holiday requirements — could change the face of food delivery for the better.
- Restaurant reopening news sent Instagram into a feeding frenzy of dinner planning, chef hiring, and, um, some interesting lockdown memes.
- And with reopenings, new openings: one of London’s best coffee shops, Brown’s of Brockley, will open Bon in East Dulwich.
Dining guides for staying in this weekend...
- How to ship a taste of London’s restaurants nationwide, with kits including suya, udon, and some world-famous butter chicken.
- Order from London’s best restaurants without the apps.
- Champion chicken wings, for takeaway or delivery.
- The best restaurants for delivery and takeaway.
- The best meal kits from London restaurants.
- What London’s standout 38 restaurants are doing right now.
- Where to find fish and chips for the weekly ritual.
- Some top sushi for takeaway.
- The best bakeries in London for takeaway pastries and bread.
- 10 brilliant burgers for lockdown.
And where to order takeaway and delivery in...
- Where to buy produce, meat, fish, pantry items, wine, and beer.
- Some gear to make great coffee at home.
- And some gear to wear: tees, totes, mugs. #Gear
Until next week, eat well and be safe.