Coronavirus UK: Michelin-starred restaurateur hits out at new London Tier 3 lockdown


A Michelin-starred restaurateur joined scores of hospitality chiefs who tonight lashed out at Matt Hancock’s ‘illogical’ plan to plunge London back into Tier 3 lockdown on Wednesday and warned that ‘cruel’ restrictions on embattled businesses will push the teetering sector ‘closer towards failure’.

David Moore of Pied à Terre said the move ‘feels like Armageddon’ and admitted that he feels like ‘crying’ as he accused No10 of ‘acting without any rhyme nor reason, no science to back up the decisions they’re making’.

He warned that hospitality is ‘once again’ bearing the brunt of the economic crisis caused by the Government’s response to the pandemic and added that closing ‘with no notice’ at ‘the most crucial time of year for us is devastating’. 

Mr Moore also revealed that French-style restaurant Pied à Terre in swanky Fitzrovia has ‘lost any chance of making up some of the losses this year’ and said ‘thousands of pounds worth of food and drink will go to waste as fridges full of food are emptied’. 

We need to be given a fighting chance for survival when we reopen – this doesn’t mean more debt as we simply can’t shoulder any more of this,’ the tearful restaurateur said.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said putting hospitality venues in the capital back into the toughest shutdown is not supported by ‘hard evidence’ and effectively ‘cancels Christmas’. 

Speaking to MailOnline, she claimed that the ‘continued demonisation of the hospitality sector is now becoming insane’, furiously adding: ‘It is literally the definition of insanity. The Government continues to enforce the same illogical regulations and expects a different outcome each time.’ 

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that thousands of jobs could be at risk from Tier 3 restrictions being imposed, and called on ministers to ‘do everything possible’ to help firms survive.

Eddie Curzon, the CBI’s London director, added: ‘Businesses – particularly those in sectors like retail and hospitality – will have been counting on a festive fillip to help mitigate months of hardship, and further restrictions now will come as a devastating blow. Thousands of jobs and livelihoods could be at risk.’ 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of The British Beer & Pub Association called the move into Tier 3 ‘another nail in the coffin for London’s pubs, as well as those affected in parts of Hertfordshire and Essex’. 

She claimed the lockdown measures could ‘completely destroy many pubs in London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex who have taken bookings for the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve if the tiers don’t change before then’. 

Calling the restrictions ‘cruel’, she added it punished ‘hardworking publicans doing all they can to support their communities and invest in implementing all the required safety measures’. 

‘It is also cruel in stopping friends, families and loved-ones from using their local this Christmas as a safe space to socialise in, with all the evidence showing that pubs are ranked amongst the lowest places for transmission. In London alone, it will now see the final 1,250 pubs who had remained open in tier two which were supporting 8,000 livelihoods forced to close,’ she warned. 

‘A far bigger package of financial support, with wider eligibility for all businesses impacted, across all regions, is needed if our sector is to survive the Tier 2 and 3 restrictions this winter. The survival of the great British pub as we know it hangs in the balance.’ 

The Campaign for Real Ale called the move ‘absolutely devastating news for pubs and breweries in and around the capital’ and said the mass closure of thousands of pubs before Christmas ‘will be a real blow to Londoners’.  

The Tier 3 move will force most venues to close, while shoppers from Tier 2 zones would be barred from shopping in its major retail hubs like Oxford Street. West End theatres are also readying themselves to close after tomorrow night’s performances, while bosses branded the Government’s ‘yo-yoing’ as ‘frankly appalling’.

Their warnings came after Mr Hancock today announced millions of Londoners will plunged into a Tier 3 shutdown just days before Christmas, telling the Commons areas of Hertfordshire and Essex will also go into the highest risk curbs after the south of England saw ‘sharp and exponential’ growth. It means around 60 per cent of the population of England will be under the highest level of restrictions.  

UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said putting hospitality venues including pubs and restaurants in the capital back into the toughest shutdown is not supported by 'hard evidence' and said the move effectively 'cancels Christmas'

David Moore of Pied à Terre said the move ‘feels like Armageddon’ and admitted that he feels like ‘crying’ as he accused No10 of ‘acting without any rhyme nor reason, no science to back up the decisions they’re making’. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said putting hospitality venues including pubs and restaurants in the capital back into the toughest shutdown is not supported by ‘hard evidence’ and said the move effectively ‘cancels Christmas’ 

Mr Moore also revealed that French-style restaurant Pied à Terre in Fitzrovia has 'lost any chance of making up some of the losses this year' and said 'thousands of pounds worth of food and drink will go to waste as fridges full of food are emptied'

Mr Moore also revealed that French-style restaurant Pied à Terre in Fitzrovia has ‘lost any chance of making up some of the losses this year’ and said ‘thousands of pounds worth of food and drink will go to waste as fridges full of food are emptied’

Hospitality bosses tonight lashed out at Matt Hancock's 'illogical' plan to plunge London back into Tier 3 lockdown and warned that 'cruel' restrictions on business will push the collapsing sector 'closer towards failure'

Hospitality bosses tonight lashed out at Matt Hancock’s ‘illogical’ plan to plunge London back into Tier 3 lockdown and warned that ‘cruel’ restrictions on business will push the collapsing sector ‘closer towards failure’

Twitter users responded to Matt Hancock’s decision to plunge London into Tier 3 with a mix of fury and relief

UKHospitality CEO Mrs Nicholls told MailOnline the curbs ‘make no sense’. She said: ‘Putting hospitality businesses back into lockdown, which is effectively what Tier 3 amounts to, is not going to tackle increasing infection rates.

‘There’s still no hard evidence that hospitality venues are a significant contributor for the spike in infections. Cases were higher at the end of the last lockdown – during which hospitality was shut down – than at the start. 

‘The spread is being predominantly driven through schools – even the Mayor of London has pointed this out and called for schools to stay shut until January. Yet, once again, it is hospitality that will take the hit. 

‘The Government is cracking down on hospitality for an increase in the infection rates that occurred during a period when hospitality was forcibly closed. It makes no sense.

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. 

 

‘So many pubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, having invested so much to make their venues safe, are only just clinging on by the skin of their teeth, but will be forced to take another huge hit. 

‘The burden of a region being moved into tier 3 falls almost exclusively on hospitality businesses. It is an illogical tactic that fails to tackle COVID effectively but does push businesses closer towards failure.

‘The Government must re-think its strategy to combating the spread of COVID, including moving areas like Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham into Tier 2. Just continuing to batter hospitality is not the answer.’ 

The Campaign For Pubs told MailOnline that the move into Tier 3 is ‘devastating for pubs across the city, that have only been able to trade partially for the past 13 days’. 

Alastair Kerr, its south-west representative, said: ‘This is a huge blow to the hardworking publicans and their families, that have invested heavily into making their businesses Covid-secure and safe for their customers and staff alike. 

‘It is also a hammer blow for trading that a week before Christmas they have been told to shut up shop and effectively stop trading in what should be one of the busiest times of the year for publicans and their pubs. We are deeply concerned of the lack of support from central Government and will continue to demand that the Government gives better protections and a proper economic support package to pubs in London and across the UK’.   

Gary Murphy, the landlord of The Old Mitre Inn, in Barnet, said: ‘Hospitality needs to be seen as part of the solution to safe socialisation and the Government needs to stop kicking us whilst we are down. 

‘The evidence for closing us down just does not exist and my experience is that the public want us to be open so they can have some normality in a safe space.’

London restaurateurs and chefs reacted with frustration and despair at the ‘cruel’ news London will enter Tier 3. Des Gunewardena, CEO of D&D London, said: ‘In the context of the complete lack of evidence that there are significant Covid infections happening in restaurants, to close restaurants and cancel bookings in what is normally the busiest week of the year [feels] like an almost gratuitous kick in the teeth to London restaurants. 

‘If the Government does want to treat the hospitality industry as its Covid whipping boy it should at least step up and fully compensate us as French and German governments are doing.

Greg Marchand, chef patron of Frenchie, said: ‘Not being able to open for the festive month will be a real kick in the teeth – it’s a crucial few weeks business-wise and sees us through financially. But, we fight on for the sake of our staff, our customers and our city.’

Stuart Procter, COO The Stafford Collection, said: ‘We all know this year has been a mess for hospitality but this constant open-close, open-close is exhausting. It takes so much time, energy, and work to get our restaurants, bars and hotels trading again, so to be threatened with another closure mere weeks after reopening is crushing.

The new Tier 3 areas 

As well as London, Matt Hancock outlined parts of Essex and Hertfordshire would also be placed in Tier 3.

Essex:

  • Basildon
  • Brentwood
  • Harlow
  • Epping Forest
  • Castle Point
  • Rochford
  • Maldon
  • Braintree
  • Chelmsford
  • Thurrock
  • Southend-on-Sea

Hertfordshire

  • Broxbourne
  • Hertsmere
  • Watford
  • Three Rivers

‘The only glimmer of hope for 2020 was a bit of Christmas trading in London so for that to be potentially removed is like the rug being pulled from under [our] feet again. We’ve got festive dishes and drinks ready to be served by staff who are desperate to be at work – it’s cruel. 

‘I guess we wait and see what happens once again, I’m getting whiplash from these twists and turns every couple of weeks.’

Cokey Sulkin, co-founder of Dirty Bones, said: ‘You can’t put a price on people’s lives but moving London into Tier 3 will be a hammer-blow to hospitality businesses in London. We have all been working incredibly hard, doing what we can to focus on a productive and profitable December. 

‘Putting London into Tier 3 is essentially a third lockdown; each time this happens we are talking about significant losses, as well as more valuable time eaten up dealing with suppliers and landlords for further concessions, when we should be looking forward and putting our post Covid business plans into motion.’

Marcos Fernandez, MD Arros QD & Iberica: ‘Christmas is the only chance for those restaurants that have managed to survive to make the cash to get them through the rest of winter. After a massive amount of work, we thought we had made it to the other side of the tunnel – now we can’t even see the other side.’

Sergey Men, Chef Patron of Bisushima, a new opening in Covent Garden, said: ‘The thought of going back into lockdown is very scary, we’ve barely had time to recover from last time. 

‘We managed to establish a solid delivery service throughout November so we would have something to fall back on, however we cannot keep operating with this in-and-out approach. It’s not fair on us, our staff or our customers.’

Luca Costa, General Manager of Terra Terra, said: ‘We believe without hesitation that hospitality businesses should continue operating during this phase of the pandemic, providing they adhere to the government’s health and safety guidelines. While social distancing and the venue capacity are respected, and thorough cleaning and disinfecting routines are carried out, the chances of contamination are minimal.

‘Moreover, the impact of a new closure during the busiest time of the year for hospitality will be immeasurable, forcing many into an unrecoverable position. When companies go out of business, along with them will go their employees’ ability to support themselves and their families.’

Dom Jacobs, wine director at The Fitzdares Club, said: ‘Tier 3 lockdown is a major blow to London hospitality. The cost of reopening venues is enormous for businesses and to only have 1.5 weeks of trade is devastating. Closing so suddenly will cause massive amounts of wastage and therefore further costs in what was planned to be a busy week.

‘For hard hit central London venues, this could well be the final straw. The government needs a major shake up in the support being offered. We need a hospitality minister who understands the business to look out for our best interests and help rebuild.’ 

LONDON, ESSEX AND HERTFORDSHIRE TIER 3 MOVE LABELLED A ‘DISASTER’ FOR THEATRES 

London’s theatres will face ‘disaster’ according to the director of the Theatres Trust, after London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire were placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Jon Morgan, director of the Theatres Trust, said the Health Secretary’s announcement has ‘compounded’ a difficult year for the sector.

The move means entertainment venues including theatres, concert halls, art galleries, cinemas and museums have to close from Wednesday.

Mr Morgan said: ‘It is a disaster for London’s theatres that the capital and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will move into Tier 3.

‘Theatres have worked incredibly hard to create safe environments for audiences and through no fault of their own will now face enormous financial losses.

‘They have done so at great risk as it is currently impossible to secure production insurance.’

He added that the tiers system means ‘more uncertainty and risk for months to come’ and the Government should introduce an insurance scheme to support the theatre industry.

‘2020 has been a catastrophic year for theatre and today’s announcement has compounded that,’ Mr Morgan added.

Julian Bird, chief executive of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, also said the announcement is bad news for the industry.

He said: ‘The past few days have seen venues beginning to reopen with high levels of Covid security, welcoming back enthusiastic, socially distanced audiences.

‘Theatres across London will now be forced to postpone or cancel planned performances, causing catastrophic financial difficulties for venues, producers and thousands of industry workers – especially the freelancers who make up 70% of the theatre workforce.

‘We urge Government to recognise the huge strain this has placed on the sector and look at rapid compensation to protect theatres and their staff over Christmas in all areas of the country under Tier 3 restrictions’.

Current Tier 2 restrictions in the regions allow for socially-distanced performances to take place, while galleries and museums could also welcome visitors.

However entertainment venues now find themselves having to shut up shop once again after the lockdown in England came to end on December 2.

Planned performances across the region will now have to be scrapped.

Among the shows which will be affected is the London Palladium’s Pantoland production, which opened to the public on Saturday and stars Julian Clary and Elaine Paige.

The Government is currently distributing its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to the arts sector.

 

Tom Warren of Wild by Tart said: ‘The Government’s handling of the pandemic in relation to our industry has been completely irrational and lacking in any intelligent or informed thought. 

‘The levels of government support have been laughable, particularly given that many restaurants have a high level of fixed costs – the £3,000 in grants the government promises to give to businesses in Tier 3 does not go a long way at all when you’re paying central London rents. Furlough has undoubtedly saved jobs but I worry for our staff who have had to take significant pay cuts for most of the year.’

Charlie Mellor, founder of Big Night and The Laughing Heart, said: ‘This news is disappointing but by no means surprising – the writing has been on the wall for some time. I am sure I am not the only one who is frustrated by the ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ tactics from our excuse for leadership. 

‘As ever, it is culture under attack, thus the impact on the hospitality sector will be significant. The loss of vital turnover at the busiest time of the year is sure to have a knock-on effect that will see many more businesses close their doors permanently, particularly once the moratorium on rent enforcement is eased at the end of March. Without further cash grants and a review of the legislation around commercial agreements between landlords and leaseholders, we are in trouble.’ 

Jonathan Read, co-founder and commercial director of Skylight and Tobacco Dock, said: ‘Putting London into Tier 3 is another heavy-handed reaction by the government. The data proves that hospitality settings, which have to be Covid-Safe, are not causing the spread of the virus. 

‘The latest data from the ONS shows that less than two per cent of infections are attributable. It is a soft target for the government when the scandal is the number of infections that emanate from hospitals and care homes. Schools are the other major source of infection but yet hospitality ends up as the scape-goat… yet again.     

The owner of one restaurant in south London says her ‘heart bleeds’ having to shut down again when preparations have been made for Christmas.

Clover Eziashi has run Lounge Brixton for around 20 years said: ‘We’ve seen lots of things happen before and we’ve been able to ride the storm.

‘As an independent you can do that because you can expand and contract, we’ve obviously had to contract a lot more than is usual.’

Speaking from her restaurant, which was serving a handful of customers on Monday afternoon, she added: ‘The lockdown of this last month and then opening up, people just went into a frenzy. 

‘It’s just not working, obviously it hasn’t worked shutting us down again when we’ve already put so much money into restocking, that’s where my heart bleeds a little bit. We’ve geared up for Christmas, what are we going to do with all of this stock?’

Clover Eziashi said she thinks the Government should have spoken to more business owners ‘on the ground’ about its approach.

She explained: ‘Some of the things they have put into place have not been thought through and I think that’s a general consensus among most people and that’s because they haven’t really asked people on the ground.

‘From where I am talking to customers, if something doesn’t make sense, they’re not going to adhere to it and if there’s conflicting things going on then it’s not going to work.’ 

Clover Eziashi said she thinks the Government should have spoken to more business owners ‘on the ground’ about its approach.

She explained: ‘Some of the things they have put into place have not been thought through and I think that’s a general consensus among most people and that’s because they haven’t really asked people on the ground.

‘From where I am talking to customers, if something doesn’t make sense, they’re not going to adhere to it and if there’s conflicting things going on then it’s not going to work.’

The owner of one London restaurant chain described this year as ‘very difficult’ for his business. Will Bowlby who runs Kricket said of the capital going into Tier 3: ‘We’re used to it now unfortunately. We’re used to opening and shutting and opening and shutting and we just have to keep going.’

From a business perspective, he thinks the Government has handled things ‘really badly’ and ‘mixed messages’ have made things more difficult. 

Speaking from the Brixton branch of his Indian restaurants, Mr Bowlby said: ‘It’s an incredibly difficult job, I can’t deny that, they haven’t got it easy but the mixed messages, things have not been made clear. The messaging hasn’t been clear, it’s been very difficult to pivot sometimes when really you don’t know what’s going on.’

He added: ‘I understand that things change but I feel like there’s just been mixed messages. Whether it’s applied to businesses or to people in general, it’s made it a lot more difficult to adapt. You would have thought over time their messaging might have got a bit clearer but it hasn’t.’

Chaos at the school gates as millions of London children head to classes with no idea when they will finish the week 

Millions of London parents face an anxious wait to see if schools are shut early after a Labour council backed by Sadiq Khan asked headteachers to shut their gates at the end of today because of rising coronavirus cases in the capital.

Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe has been accused of ‘an appalling lack of leadership’ after announcing his decision on Twitter last night amid fears London’s 20 other Labour councils could follow suit.

But Cllr Thorpe, a former teacher supported by Britain’s teaching unions, did not specify on what scientific basis officials had reached the decision, leading to accusations he was putting scoring political points above the education of children.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants all London secondary schools and colleges to shut before the end of term on Friday – in defiance of the government’s instruction to keep them open – blaming rising Covid-19 cases.  But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer came out against Mr Khan this morning and told LBC: ‘I am very reluctant to close our schools’.

One senior government source told MailOnline that the intervention from Sadiq Khan and the Greenwich Labour leader had more than a ‘whiff of political opportunism’. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today blasted the Labour-led calls and said: ‘We want to keep schools open’. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned yesterday that schools who do not stay open face legal action – but has not used the clause inserted in the Coronavirus Act that can compel schools to stay open. Instead London’s Regional Schools Commissioner has written to Greenwich Council urging them to reserve their decision.

Panicked parents scrambling to find childcare with just 24 hours notice amid growing concerns schools could remain closed in January. Some families said the decision had left their children in tears. 

 

The Creative Industries Federation has said that the Tier 3 announcement is ‘devastating news’ for London’s creative sector.

A tweet from the trade body said: ‘Devastating news for London’s £58billion creative sector, particularly for the many who will see a total loss of income due to today’s Tier 3 announcement.

‘Greater support inc insurance for those planning future performances & events is needed for all parts of UK facing restrictions.’     

Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh has said the Government’s decision to put London into a Tier 3 lockdown is ‘devastating’ and also ‘smacks of panic’.

Sir Cameron said in a statement: ‘The sudden volte-face by the government in deciding to immediately put London into Tier 3 and shut down the West End is devastating for both the theatre and the economy.

‘Even worse it smacks of panic and makes all our considerable and costly efforts to ensure the safety of both performers and audiences alike, widely praised by the health authorities, seem worthless – breaking any sense of trust between us as an industry and the government departments we’ve been trying to build a rapport with.

‘The commercial theatre has had virtually no support from the Treasury, apart from the offer of quite expensive loans – which we, unlike the subsidised theatre, have been asked to give personal guarantees to repay.

‘A lot of us do not want to go into debt to pay for losses caused by diktats completely out of our control.’

Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s statement added: ‘The constant changes of rules and advice we have received is impossible for any business to react to. A private company behaving like this would be subject to legal charges from its investors.

‘Yet the government seems to play with our rights and liberties with impunity.

‘We have almost 100 mostly self-employed performers and staff working on Les Miserables – The Staged Concert at the Sondheim Theatre. At a stroke, this government has tipped them into unemployment just in time for Christmas – Bah Humbug to the Prime Minister and the men in white coats.

‘We will have to disappoint thousands of patrons over the next few weeks who were booked to safely see Les Mis over the holidays. We intend to continue performances in January as soon as we are allowed to and demand clarity of a date as soon as possible.

‘Where is the leadership this government promised? All we have is empty words and empty chairs!’

The director of a pantomime that recently opened at a London theatre has said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the financial impact of Tier 3 restrictions on the West End.

Michael Harrison, who is the director and producer of Pantoland at the London Palladium, said: ‘We are devastated by today’s news that London will move to Tier 3, forcing the closure of Pantoland at the Palladium.

‘We are deeply concerned about the economic impact of today’s decision for businesses in the West End and believe that we have done everything possible to ensure a Covid-secure environment within the London Palladium for our audiences, following all advice from Government.

‘Whilst the safety and health of our visitors, staff and performers is of extreme importance, the Government’s yo-yoing approach on advice is frankly appalling.

‘It is not possible for any business to function in an environment where our leaders seem to have simply no idea how our country will look from one week to the next. The advice is bordering on incompetent.’

He added: ‘Pantoland at the Palladium opened to rapturous standing ovations, and we saw a reaction from the audience like nothing we’ve experienced before – such was their delight to be back in the theatre seeing live performance.’ 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Government’s decision to impose Tier 3 restrictions on the capital is ‘incredibly disappointing’ for businesses.

But, in a statement, the Labour mayor urged Londoners to follow the measures to ‘avoid even tougher restrictions, for longer, further down the road’. ‘This is incredibly disappointing for our businesses who have suffered so much already this year,’ he said.

‘The worst thing for London’s businesses and our economy would be yet another full lockdown in the new year. That’s why I urge Londoners to follow the Tier 3 rules that the Government is putting in place very closely so that we can drive down infection rates as much as possible.

‘We now urgently need much more Government support for the sectors of our economy that are being hit the hardest, including hospitality, culture and leisure.’ 

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith raised concerns about hospitality, stating: ‘Tier 3 will hammer down on the one area that does control what happens which is in hospitality and the key area here surely is that in doing that, they will shift back to their homes and it is that area where we would worry about off licences selling alcohol in the evening.

‘Can he try and seek some kind of flexibility within this so it targets better the real risk and doesn’t just hammer those that have been doing the right thing?’

Mr Hancock replied in the Commons: ‘We’re always open to finding new ways that protect the economy as much as possible to bring this virus under control.’

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Munira Wilson asked whether Matt Hancock should reconsider the easing of restrictions over the festive period which were previously announced by the Government. She said: ‘My children are desperate to see their grandparents this Christmas, as is the case for many families up and down the country.

‘But in view of these alarming numbers and with what we’re seeing in the US following Thanksgiving and with the constant chopping and changing of rules which leads to lower compliance and more confusion, I appreciate (Mr Hancock) doesn’t want to be the Grinch. 

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from Tories who want the capital to avoid Tier  3, with some threatening to vote against extending pandemic restrictions the next time they need updating

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from Tories who want the capital to avoid Tier  3, with some threatening to vote against extending pandemic restrictions the next time they need updating

‘But should he be reconsidering the Christmas measures that are in place or do we risk unnecessary additional deaths in the new year just as we’ve got light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine?’

Mr Hancock responded: ‘Well I would recommend to people to exercise caution over Christmas, especially with respect to seeing elderly relatives who of course people are yearning to see, I understand that.

Covid cases rising in every part of London, figures show

The rate of new coronavirus cases has increased across every area of London, while the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions in the capital has risen to the highest level since April, new data shows. 

The latest data, published on Sunday, shows that coronavirus rates rose across every local authority area in London in the seven days to December 9 compared with the previous week.

Havering has the highest rate in London, with 1,314 new cases recorded in the seven days to December 9 – the equivalent of 506.3 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from 321.3 in the seven days to December 2.

Redbridge has the second highest rate, up from 296.5 to 398.1, with 1,215 new cases.

Waltham Forest is in third place, where the rate has risen from 258.9 to 385.2, with 1,067 new cases.

The figures, for the seven days to December 9, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (December 10-13) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

Meanwhile, the most recent data also shows that there were 248 people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in London on December 9, the highest number since April 28 when there were also 248 Covid admissions.

The data, updated on Sunday, includes people admitted to hospital who tested positive for Covid-19 in the 14 days prior to admission, and those who tested positive in hospital after admission.

Inpatients diagnosed with Covid-19 after admission are reported as being admitted on the day prior to their diagnosis. 

 

‘But I think it is important that people not only abide by the rules but also take personal responsibility in case they have coronavirus, might be passing it on but don’t have any symptoms and don’t know about it.’

Conservative former minister Robert Halfon said that hospitality businesses are ‘on their knees’.

He said: ‘(Mr Hancock) will know I’ve supported all the measures that have been put in place and I’ve put my faith in the Government and the scientists and the medical officers.

‘However, I’ve real worries about Harlow and Essex being put into Tier 3 as local hospitality businesses are really struggling and on their knees. I’d be grateful if (Mr Hancock) could explain how further restrictions will curb the disease given that cases increased in Harlow during the second national lockdown?’

Mr Hancock responded: ‘Well unfortunately cases are rising in Harlow and in the districts of Essex and Hertfordshire nearby and so we do have to take the action that we do.’

Tory MP Nickie Aiken said Tier 3 restrictions will have ‘devastating economic consequences’ but that she accepts they are needed to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The Cities of London and Westminster representative said: ‘I am bitterly disappointed in what we’re having to go through in London at the moment.  

‘I have been fighting hard against having Tier 3 imposed on us but, having seen the data, I now accept that it is necessary to protect our NHS and our health.

‘However there is no doubt that Tier 3 restrictions will have devastating economic consequences for central London – especially on our hospitality sector and will be hard on residents here as well.

‘I’ve seen our pubs, bars and restaurants working incredibly hard under very difficult circumstances to keep us all safe, and this is going to hurt them.’

Tory candidate for London mayor Shaun Bailey said ‘putting all of London into Tier 3 is a mistake’ and called on the Government to rethink their decision and ‘take a targeted approach’. Speaking to MailOnline, he added: ‘London’s population is nearly twice the size of Scotland’s. Yet they have five Tiers and we only have one.   

‘Six months from now, when the vaccine is rolled out, infection rates will no longer be such a problem. It’s our duty to make sure mass unemployment isn’t a problem either.’

Meanwhile there is anxiety that Kent, already in Tier 3, could face a further tightening of restrictions with a surge in cases that has yet to fall.

In an apparent attempt to assuage anger, Mr Hancock indicated that the next review will be on December 23 – rather than December 30 as had been expected.   

The Government agreed to review the tier levels every two weeks at the latest after they were introduced on December 2, in order to pass the legislation needed in the face of a backbench rebellion. 

But the decision was brought forward from Wednesday to today because of the spike in numbers, with a key cabinet committee having met this morning. 

Introducing the restrictions sooner means they have more time to take effect before the nationwide loosening of restrictions from December 23-27, with up to three families allowed to meet without social distancing. 

Earlier, London mayor Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 would be ‘catastrophic’ without extra help for the city’s businesses, coming in what should be a ‘golden quarter’ of the year before Christmas.

He told Sky News: ‘If the government decides to do that they must provide additional support over and above what has been offered to make sure these businesses go bust,’ he told Sky News.

‘If they go bust not only will it lead to hundreds of thousands of Londoners being made unemployed, but our ability to recover from this pandemic will be made much harder. It is in nobody’s interest for these businesses to go bust, December is a crucial month for many of these business.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk