The clean-up began today after revellers partied into the night in Soho ahead of London going into Tier Three at midnight with pubs and restaurants forced to close and many forced to throw away unused food.
Bin bags were piled up on street corners while recycling containers were full of glass bottles following a last hurrah for many Londoners with their friends before Christmas despite it still being nine days away.
The capital’s party district was buzzing last night with one woman singing in the street to fellow revellers and another walking around sporting large burlesque feather fans as police officers monitored the crowds.
Theatregoers poured out of West End musicals and shows before they also shut along with other entertainment venues such as casinos and cinemas, as the capital goes into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.
London restaurateurs slammed the enforced closure brought on by Tier Three as they threw out bags and boxes of unused products, with UKHospitality expecting millions of pounds worth of food will go to waste.
The capital and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire were put under Tier Three curbs at midnight with hospitality venues receiving less than 48 hours’ notice. While some restaurants are choosing to rely on deliveries during the new measures, other dine-in venues have warned an ‘immense amount’ of food and drink will be binned.
One London restauranteur said the move into Tier Three had already cost him £42,000 in lost bookings, as well as a week of wasted stock, and The Breakfast Group chain said it would lose up to £50,000 of fresh food and drink.
Thomasina Miers, co-founder of the Wahaca restaurant chain, said: ‘Much as I love the constant resilience of the hospitality sector I can’t help feeling if more of our politicians got proper jobs before starting political careers they may have given restaurants/pubs more notice to wind down stock and empty fridges before being shut down.’
Looking further ahead, Westminster City Council leader Rachael Robathan has warned people ‘not to hover in the West End just to see in the New Year’ amid her concerns over the ‘looming safety risks around New Year’s Eve’.
Lana Lorraine (right) sings with people in the West End of London after pubs close last night before the capital goes into Tier 3
Revellers out in Soho last night as pubs and bars close ahead of the capital going into Tier 3 from midnight
People were out in force in London’s Soho yesterday on the last night before the Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions came in
People eat out at St Christopher’s Place in London last night before the capital goes into Tier 3 restrictions
People outside the London Palladium theatre last night where Pantoland had been on stage but will now have to close
A police officer patrols Soho as people party on a street after pubs shut for the night before London goes into Tier 3
Theatregoers outside the Sondheim Theatre in London’s Soho last night where Les Miserables has been showing
Restrictions are supposed to be eased to allow up to three households to meet for five days over the festive period, but pubs in Tier Three will have to remain closed even then.
Andy Jones, 40, who owns Jones & Sons restaurant in Dalston, East London, was forced to close after the capital moved into the higher band of restrictions.
He has lost hundreds of bookings and revealed his remaining food stock will go to waste. ‘This week, we had about £42,000 worth of bookings in the system already,’ he said.
‘My biggest gripe is that busy restaurants plan a week ahead. We’ve got a week’s worth of food pretty much either prepped ready to go, bought in already – which you can’t send back – or on order. Think about the wasted food.’
Theatregoers arrive for a show in London’s Soho last night before West End venues must shut as the capital goes into Tier 3
Revellers out on the streets of Soho in London last night as pubs and bars close ahead of the capital going into Tier 3
People enjoy dinner outside in Soho before London goes into Tier 3 last night, closing pubs and restaurants
A woman dances with wings in the West End of London last night after pubs close, before London moves into Tier 3
Rubbish left on the streets of Soho in London early this morning after the last night of London being in Tier 2 restrictions
Glass bottles left in bins on the streets of Soho are pictured this morning after the last night of London being in Tier 2
Bin bags are left on the streets of London’s Soho this morning following the last night of Tier 2 restrictions for the capital
Rubbish left on the streets of Soho in London this morning as the capital goes into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions
Gavin Rankin, owner of Bellamy’s in Mayfair, told MailOnline yesterday evening: ‘The food going to waste is deeply annoying. This whole thing is deeply annoying. We are going to reopen, but when?’
‘All of this horrendous planning comes when thousands of people are allowed to visit shops, we’ve got quite adequate restrictions in place, so why isn’t it safe for us to stay open?’
Ben Tish, culinary director of Norma in Fitzrovia and The Game Bird, at the five-star Stafford hotel in Green Park, said there would be an ‘immense amount of food wasted across restaurants in the capital’.
Mr Tish told The Guardian: ‘We were due to have full restaurants this week, including booked-out private dining rooms, and we had ordered a load of produce in.’
He revealed the restaurant had already ordered and received 100 lobster tails at a cost of £25 each, which they cannot keep frozen for long.
Police and Covid marshalls were out in Soho ordering Londoners to finish off their drinks and substantial meals as the capital entered Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions
Food waste was piled high on the streets of Soho on Tuesday night as UKHospitality warned Tier 3 restrictions could see millions of pounds worth of food and drink go to waste
Kate Nicholls, chief executive, warned there would be a ‘glut of wasted food and drink,’ as pubs and restaurants are forced to ditch products they have bought for Christmas bookings which have had to be cancelled
Revellers remained on the streets of Soho as London prepared to join other parts of England living under Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions that will close pubs and restaurants in the last week before Christmas
Other items, such as truffles, cannot be frozen at all, meaning they too will go to waste.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told The Guardian: ‘As with previous short-notice lockdowns, this is going to cause a glut of wasted food and drink.’
Restaurants in Soho are expecting to rely on delivery services, as they have done during previous lockdowns, but others were donating their food.
Middle Eastern and Asian restaurant Le Bab, in Carnaby Street, told MailOnline: ‘The company will be doing the same thing we did during the first lockdown.
‘Everything left over in this restaurant and our sister restaurant in Covent Garden tonight will be cooked and donated to NHS staff.’
Pubs in London, Essex and Hertfordshire are set to lose thousands of pounds as they lose out on festive business – but as businesses shut on Tuesday night, police were out trying to get crowds home
Police were asking visitors to London’s West End to leave on Tuesday night, as daily coronavirus cases hit 18,450, up 50 per cent on last Tuesday, although deaths were down
Crowds were in no rush to leave Soho after a final day of drinking before London entered Tier 3 with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire
Up to 20 police officer and volunteers were on the streets of Soho to ensure drinkers left and complied with social distancing amid growing Covid-19 infections across London
Furious restaurant owners in Soho have questioned why they must close when nearby shops are allowed to stay open in Tier 3, but drinkers were still filling nearby streets after venues closed
In North London, darts fans packed into a socially distanced Alexandra Palace for a night of World Darts Championship action
The closures came after Wetherspoons sold some drinks for as little as 99p, as businesses faced pouring leftovers down the sink if they failed to sell out today
Some venues were selling drinks for as little as 99p yesterday as they encouraged punters to come and visit before the closures began.
Up to 8,000 jobs are being put at risk at London’s pub due to the closure, according to The Times, while businesses in Essex and Hertfordshire are also set to be affected.
Cath Thwaites, 52, landlady of the Chequers in Billericay, Essex, told The Times she’ll be losing about £3,000 worth of beer and could lose her pub altogether.
She said: ‘To give us £1,000 to help us through a month is madness. £1,000 doesn’t cover my bills for a week — and that’s not including rent.’
Ms Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: ‘While we all recognise that public safety has to come first – and we will do everything possible to safeguard that – tier three is the last place we wanted to be.
‘It puts some of our businesses, theatres, restaurants, and bars in a fight for survival. We have the biggest hospitality sector in the country – 3,700 licensed venues – which is about to be even harder hit despite our repeated attempts to support it with measures like al fresco dining. Jobs which might have been safeguarded by a pre-Christmas revival are again on the line.
‘That’s why I am lobbying the Treasury with urgency to review the central Government grant support our businesses get. The current formula counts resident population, not the number of businesses, and that means we will have just £5m to spread among 39,000 companies in Westminster – that’s only about £130 per business. That cannot be right for a council which collects nearly nine per cent of the country’s business rates, or £2.4 billion, and it risks damaging the vibrant mix of cultural attractions, retail and shops that makes the West End a symbol of global Britain.
‘Westminster City Council will support the new health rules and ensure our residents are looked after. Our officers will be out to ensure safety messages are clearly understood and, working with those venues that are open, we manage traffic as safely as possible.
‘While the Tier Three rules are clear, the reality is we cannot stop people coming into the West End. This throws into sharp relief the looming safety risks around New Year’s Eve celebrations. I would again appeal to people not to hover in the West End just to see in the New Year – while it goes against the grain of our spirit as a City, the fight against Covid has to be the priority and closely packed crowds simply run the risk of prolonging this tier 3 misery even longer.’
Pubs and restaurants closed as hospitality experts warned tighter restrictions could cost the industry billions in the run up to Christmas
Some restaurants will be relying on delivery services in Soho, while others are donating whatever food is leftover from tonight to local foodbanks and to NHS staff
Experts warned the move into Tier 3 will wipe £2.7billion from the hospitality industry as it closes during the festive rush
Restaurants in Soho are expecting to rely on delivery services, as they have done during previous lockdowns, but others are donating their food
Police were out to ask punters to leave at around 10pm on Tuesday night as London entered Tier 3 restrictions, forcing pubs and restaurants to close
Hospitality bosses slammed the ‘catastrophic’ decision to move London and parts of the home counties into the higher band of restrictions.
Under the new Tier 3 rules, only businesses offering takeaway and delivery will be allowed to remain open. Restrictions are supposed to be eased to allow up to three households to meet for five days over the festive period, but pubs in Tier 3 will have to remain closed even then.
Pubs in Tier 2 areas will be able to open under the band’s restrictions over the Christmas period. But as households are only allowed to mix with people from other bubbles in the home over the five day period, it will make reopening unviable for many pubs, bars and restaurants.
Punters packed into bars from yesterday morning to enjoy one last drink, albeit with a substantial meal, before Tier 3 closed venues for the foreseeable future.
There are warnings that the move into Tier 3 will wipe off £2.7billion from London’s hospital industry as pubs, bars and restaurants are forced to close during the busy festive period.
Some businesses in the city opened their doors from 9am yesterday morning and were offering pints for as little as 99p in an attempt to get rid of stock with only hours to go before the shutdown. One Wetherspoons pub in south West London welcomed drinkers from 10.30am onwards and was busy all morning serving drinkers.
Bar staff in Soho are clearing up after the last night of business before London entered Tier 3 restrictions following a rise in Covid-19 cases
Punters were seen gathering outside The White Lion in Covent Garden as London prepared to enter tighter social distancing measures as a result of growing coronavirus infection rate
Campaign for Pubs spokesperson, Greg Mulholland, slammed the government for announcing the decision less than two weeks before Christmas.
He said the government’s announcement is a ‘shocking way to treat publicans and their families’ and warned it would force many businesses to the brink.
The campaign manager and former MP said: ‘It’s devastating news for pubs and publicans in London and the home counties. To move into Tier 3 just a few weeks after opening again to get some restricted trade, and then this just a few weeks before Christmas.
Pressure was heaped on Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday to abandon the three household ‘bubble’ system over the five day Christmas period, as experts warned lives would be lost if the restriction hiatus goes ahead.
The PM was expected to meet with ministers to discuss the festive break as it emerged daily coronavirus cases hit 18,450, up 50 per cent on last Tuesday, although deaths were down.
Industry insiders called for an urgent support package for the hospitality sector to help businesses survive into the New Year.
It came as people started drinking early at pubs across the capital. Many drinkers continued into the afternoon leading to busy scenes in Soho and Covent Garden.
Soho started to fill with people heading out for one last drink – with a substantial meal – before Tier 3 restrictions begin
Under the new Tier 3 rules, only businesses offering takeaway and delivery will be allowed to remain open. Restrictions are supposed to be eased to allow up to three households to meet for five days over the festive period, but pubs in Tier 3 will have to remain closed even then
Pubs and restaurants were preparing to welcome visitors under Tier 2 restrictions in London, but last night Soho and other parts of the capital were welcoming visitors are opening for the last time before rules tighten
Police were out patrolling restaurants while staff ensure people are following Tier 2 measures by purchasing a ‘substantial meal,’ with a drink
East London restaurant owner loses £42,000 in bookings as capital is plunged into Tier 3
Andy Jones, 40, owns Jones & Sons restaurant in Dalston, east London
A London restaurant owner has revealed he has lost more than £42,000 in bookings since the announcement that the capital would move into Tier 3.
Andy Jones, 40, owns Jones & Sons restaurant in Dalston, east London, and will be forced to close when the capital moved into the higher band of restrictions tonight.
He said he will lose hundreds of bookings and his remaining food stock will go to waste.
‘This week, we had about £42,000 worth of bookings in the system already,’ he said.
‘My biggest gripe is that busy restaurants plan a week ahead. We’ve got a week’s worth of food pretty much either prepped ready to go, bought in already – which you can’t send back – or on order.
‘Think about the wasted food.
‘It’s unacceptable to give the hospitality industry 24 hours’ notice,’ he added.
‘We’re very worried about the impact this will not only have on livelihoods but also mental health.
‘This is a shocking way to be treating publicans and their families particularly in the run up to Christmas.
‘The goverment keeps changing its mind and changing the rules and it’s having a devastating effect which will threaten the future of many of our beloved pubs in these higher tier areas up and down the country.’
The former MP for Leeds North West also highlighted how the short notice will leave many business owner high and dry with unusued stock – yet another addition to their financial woes.
‘Pubs will have stock on the basis that they were allowed to be open at this crucial trading time of the year, and now forced to close in a matter of days and dispose of that with no compensation whatsoever from the government,’ he said. ‘We need an urgent package of support.’
Publicans will have to dispose of unused stock if it is not sold, leading to concerns there will be a repeat of scenes witnessed at the start of the second national lockdown.
An estimated 70million pints of beer were poured down the drain when the country went into lockdown on November 5.
A spokesperson for Wetherspoons, who is selling off their surplus stock for as little as 99p in some of their pubs yesterday, said it was ‘disappointing’ but necessary to dispose of unused stock.
Calling the hospitality sector a ‘scapegoat’ during the coronavirus crisis, JDW spokesman Eddie Gershon told Mail Online: ‘With those pubs moving into Tier 3 in London, Hertforshire and Essex if everything is not sold by the end of play today will have to be thrown away.
‘You can’t keep it, so might as well try and offload it. It is good beer, and some of those beers would usually be round £6 a pint in London.
‘Our prices at £2.20 a pint are very good value, so we hope people enjoy it at low prices and from our point of view we need to get rid of it.
‘The hospitality sector seems to be the scapegoat, but when things happen we just have to deal with it. ‘
Industry insiders warned the closure of pubs would wipe billions of pounds off the UK economy and put thousands of jobs at risk.
According to the British Beer and Pub Association there are 3,680 pubs and 56,000 sector jobs in the capital alone.
Kate Nicholls, the head of UK Hospitality warned the closure would ‘change the face of the capital for years to come’.
She said: ‘The effect this shutdown will have on businesses is absolutely catastrophic.
‘The impact of this is both immediate and dire for those businesses forced to close and the effect will be also long term on wider businesses.
‘For those businesses directly affected it will wipe off £2.7bn from the London economy in the last two weeks of December.
‘It’s such a disproportionate effect because it’s the two busiest trading weeks in the year lost in the largest most valuable hospitality economy in the world.
‘It’s also put 160,000 jobs directly at risk just before Christmas.’
Ms Nicholls said only 1 in 5 of London’s hospitality venues had been able to reopen effectively since December 2 and the move into Tier 3 means many more may never reopen.
Industry experts also criticised the number of shoppers seen crowded into the streets in the run up to Christmas.
Mr Mulholland said the hospitality industry was bearing the brunt of the restrictions, despite being heavily regulated – unlike High Streets and shopping centres.
While the streets of Soho have started to fill, some pubs started to welcome visitors from around 10.30am for one last drink before venues are forced to close
Restaurants in London and parts of Essex (including Leigh on Sea, pictured) are welcoming diners for the last time tonight before they close for a third time this year as they enter Tier 3 restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19
Campaign for Pubs spokesperson, Greg Mulholland, slammed the government for announcing its decision to close venues less than two weeks before Christmas. With just hours to go before Tier 3 measures apply in London, Covent Garden was still attracting visitors
Industry insiders called for an urgent support package for the hospitality sector to help businesses survive into the New Year
There are concerns that the closure will impact livelihoods, as well as the mental health of workers and regular visitors to venues
Police remain on patrol through busy parts of London, including Soho, tonight, to ensure Tier 2 social distancing measures are kept in place before stricter rules come into effect tomorrow
Head of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, called for an urgent package of support for the hospitality businesses forced to close as a result of the Tier 3 shutdown
He said: ‘There’s huge anger amongst publicans and their families at the fact the government is allowing – and indeed encouraging – huge crowds of people to congregate to go shopping in a totally unregulated environment while scapegoating pubs and hospitality, forcing them to close and giving them derisory support in response.’
He added: ‘We must have adequate support, the government cannot continue to treat pubs the way that they have without properly supporting them.
‘The evidence based decision they’re taking is extremely questionable, indeed threadbare.
‘But nonetheless, now that they have taken this devastating decision, they need to come up with a proper package of support for all Tier 3 areas.
‘It leaves people at the end of a very difficult year with great worries about the future of their business and their ongoing livelihoods.’
Social media users reacted to the news that stock would go to waste as businesses were moved into Tier 3 at short notice
A rise in infections means London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be put under Tier Three curbs from tonight
Several people were concerned about the short notice for the hospitality industry which would lead of businesses with surplus stock
This social media user said he knew ofbusinesses that have also spent money on products that will allow their companys to remain open – this too will go to waste
This Twitter user said the situation was ‘not a fair way to treat people’
What are the Tier 3 rules?
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close;
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway;
- Shops and hairdressers and salons will be allowed to remain open;
- Groups of six will be allowed to meet outdoors only;
- Crowds at live events will be banned;
- People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier 3 areas unless it is unavoidable;
- People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside.
Ms Nicholls joined calls for a comprehensive support package to support the businesses facing difficulty in the face of closure.
She called for the government to extend the business rates holiday into 2022, and extend the lower rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality services for the whole of next year.
‘It’s going to be a domino effect unless we can get additional support to these businesses,’ she said.
‘That support will allow these businesses to make decisions about investment for next year in confidence, will avoid unnecessary job losses over the Christmas period and will allow support to be maintained throughout the recovery.’
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, called it ‘another nail in the coffin’ for pubs.
She said: ‘It could completely destroy many pubs in London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex.
‘It is cruel on hardworking publicans doing all they can to support their communities and invest in implementing all the required safety measures.
She added: ‘It is not fair that pubs in London and other parts of England receive four times less financial support than pubs in Wales.
‘Particularly as pubs in London are the most expensive to run.
‘Support also needs to be made available to brewers and the wider supply chain businesses also seeing a major trade channel closed overnight.’
Social media users backed the pubs with some taking to Twitter to slam the ‘idiotic decision’.
One person wrote that the constant flip flopping it was ‘not a fair way to treat people’.
They posted: ‘I don’t think London should ever have come out of Tier 3, thinking of all the small businesses that will have bought stock in prep for Christmas only to now be stuck with it. It is not a fair way to treat people’.