The curfew after 10 pm, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week, has caused great anger and anxiety in restaurants.
The UK hospitality industry, which has just begun to recover, has entered a new challenging process as a result of the introduction of a curfew yesterday. The vast majority of the industry condemned the government’s decision, claiming that the curfew was “didn’t make sense” in terms of combating the increase in coronavirus cases, stating the movement was “a slow death”. This morning, chefs and business owners shared their experiences of the first night of the curfew and detailed the impact on their business.
Jackson Boxer, the chef and owner of the Orasay and Brunswick House restaurants, tweeted that he had seen a “massive reduction in revenue” at least one of his restaurants and that he was “absolutely shaken by this.” “First night: guests were lovely and supportive as always,” he said. “However the numbers are deeply alarming. Spend per head 30% down.”
Adam Handling, the chef and owner of The Frog and Adam Handling restaurants, shared a video on Instagram half an hour after closing the restaurants. “Usually my restaurant is absolutely full and pumping at the moment, but it’s absolutely dead,” Handling said in the video. “I understand the government needs to act but I believe they’ve acted without really understanding the impact of these measures,” he added.
Charlie Gilkes, co-founder of Inception Group, which counts bars and restaurants including Mr Fogg’s and Bunga Bunga among its portfolio, highlighted that many of his customers could quite possibly head to less safe environments after ending their night at his venues, reported Standard UK. “Very sad to see many people leave our safe trading environments with social distancing strictly enforced at 10pm and head off for house parties,” he said. “Makes NO sense. A political not scientific move.”
Julian Bartlett of Hakata Ramen + Bar in Bermondsey said on Twitter that the restaurant “was visited by police at 21:50 telling customers that they have to have paid and left the premises by 22:00.” “This is simply unjustified,” he added. “We have to allow customers reasonable time to finish their meal/drinks or it will destroy us.”