Business leaders today warned new tier restrictions and winter-long work-from-home directives could be a recipe for disaster for London’s economy.
The Government will reveal on Thursday which of three tiers the capital will be placed in, with each stricter than under the previous local lockdown strategy.
There are fears London could be put in the most restrictive tier 3 from December 2, under which all bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants can only serve takeaway.
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, writing in his pub’s magazine, said that after initial post-lockdown regulations in July which “worked well”, government policy had since been “arbitrary” and “caused mayhem”.
He said: “The rules have constantly changed, without consultation, on an arbitrary basis, causing mayhem, unemployment and economic dislocation across the hospitality industry.”
Greene King chief executive, Nick Mackenzie, said: “We’ve invested millions of pounds to make our pubs safe … but today it feels like pubs have been unfairly singled out again”.
Property landlords warned the lack of a clear strategy for a return to workplaces over the winter would further pummel the central London commercial property sector, and hinder the wider recovery as commuters stay away.
Alistair Elliott, group chairman of property agency giant Knight Frank, said: “It is disappointing that there isn’t a stronger message about returning to work since, to my mind, the economic vibrancy of our cities all around the country is dependent upon people returning to their workplaces”.
The City of London Corporation’s policy chair Catherine McGuinness said there is an urgent need for a clear plan to allow a return to Covid-secure workplaces “in order to get as much of the economy operating as possible”.
The business leaders comments came as Chief executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said that even tier 2 restrictions would be "disastrous" for the sector in London.