London restaurants celebrate New Year hours early to beat Covid curfew

Venues across the Capital will host ‘counterfeit countdowns’ on New Year’s Eve in a bid to entice customers out and beat coronavirus restrictions. 

Landlords, hoteliers and casino bosses will ring in 2021 as early as 10am on December 31 so that punters can make it home in time for the 10pm Covid curfew. 

But the beleaguered hospitality industry is waiting with baited breath to see if Boris Johnson will make a decision on whether to move London into draconian Tier 3 restrictions in the coming days – meaning any celebrations will be off. 

This also comes after Transport for London announced it would not offer free transport on New Year’s Eve as Mayor Sadiq Khan attempts to stamp out revellers celebrating the end of the year. 

The Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square will kick off the celebrations from 10am

The Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square will kick off the celebrations from 10am

The Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square will kick off the celebrations from 10am

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill will operate a 'resort time' and turn back its clocks by two hours

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill will operate a 'resort time' and turn back its clocks by two hours

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill will operate a ‘resort time’ and turn back its clocks by two hours

Tubes will NOT run overnight on New Year’s Eve to put off partying revellers celebrating the end of 2020 in London 

Tubes will not run overnight on New Year’s Eve to put partying revellers off celebrating the end of 2020, Transport for London has revealed.  

Andy Lord, Managing Director of the London Underground, told a meeting of the TfL board that trains would not be running through the night on New Year’s Eve.  

Night buses would still be running as normal, but otherwise the last service out of London will run at around 12.30am, he said. 

Meanwhile, the Waterloo and City line will close until April as bankers work from home amid coronavirus

The Waterloo and City Line is also expected to close until at least April next year, as bankers continue to stay away from the office in favour of working from home. 

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New Year’s Eve falls outside of the five-day Christmas bubble between December 23 and 27 – when people can meet up in bubbles of up to two other households to celebrate the festive period. 

It means potential revellers may be forced to stay home, especially if the capital is moved from Tier 2 and into Tier 3 – closing all pubs and restaurants that can’t offer a takeaway service – by next week. 

The popular Prince of Wales pub in Brixton, south London, will host a ‘socially distanced soiree’ on its rooftop from 6pm until 10.30pm, with table service.  

Thomas Kochs, managing director at the Corinthia London in Whitehall, told the Evening Standard: ‘We will apply the principle of ‘resort time’ and will turn back our clocks by two hours, celebrating a New Year moment at 10pm with a champagne toast and chorus of Auld Lang Syne. Each guest will be given a party bag to take away with a sparkler, party popper and popping candy for the real midnight.’ 

Simon Thomas, chief executive of the Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square, told the Evening Standard its bars and restaurants would kick off the celebrations from 10am.  

This comes amid fears the Capital could be plunged into Tier 3 restrictions in days after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. 

Bosses warned the Prime Minister that being placed under the stringent restrictions would be the equivalent of slapping a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on the city’s struggling businesses.  

A decision on whether to move the capital into the top tier – which would see pubs and restaurants closed – will be made in the next few days and will come into force on December 16.

The capital is now the region with the highest seven-day Covid rate per 100,000 people in England. 

But this week the British Beer and Pub Association said Tier Three would be the ‘writing on the wall’ for many more of the capital’s locals. 

The Northall will host a black tie gala dinner and ring in the New Year early

The Northall will host a black tie gala dinner and ring in the New Year early

The Northall will host a black tie gala dinner and ring in the New Year early 

Moving London into Tier Three would be the equivalent of slapping a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on the city’s struggling businesses, Boris Johnson was warned last night

Bell tolls for our traditional pubs 

Thousands of traditional pubs risk being lost for ever because of the impact of lockdowns, according to an industry expert.

Fiona Stapley, editor of The Good Pub Guide, sounded the warning as it published its latest list.

She said this year had been a ‘nightmare’ for pubs with ‘the industry facing the darkest of moments’.

But she added that while the road ahead was ‘frighteningly rocky’, publicans were ‘plucky and extraordinary people who retain a teeny spark of hope’.

She urged drinkers to return to pubs when the rules allow. ‘It is imperative we support them – the pub… is the beating heart and focal point of countless communities,’ she said.

The guide gave its latest Pub of the Year award to the Olive Branch in Clipsham, East Midlands.

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And UK Hospitality said moving London into Tier Three before Christmas could cost 150,000 jobs in pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Kate Nicholls, the trade body’s chief executive, said it would be a ‘killer blow’ to hundreds of struggling businesses in the capital.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry told the Prime Minister that his dream of a Global Britain would not materialise ‘without London operating at full power’.

Chief executive Richard Burge urged the Government to demonstrate that they grasp that London is Britain’s world city whose economy and global reach benefits the whole of the UK.

‘If scientific evidence of transmission levels of Covid-19 in London warrant moving the capital into Tier Three then the Government must, at the same moment, significantly increase its support for London businesses,’ he said.

‘The inevitable collapse in footfall, particularly in central London, means there should be an immediate extension of the business rates holiday, and instant cash support to enterprises in retail, hospitality and leisure. 

Without help, the Government will be issuing a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on companies which otherwise would be successful and thriving contributors to the most important economic asset in the country – London.’ 

The City’s Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I urge all Londoners to follow the rules – for the good of the loved ones that we want to see over the festive period and to help all our local businesses. 

‘No one wants to see a devastating further surge in cases or the need for more restrictions.’

Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: ‘Tier Two is already killing pubs’ ability to trade –but Tier Three would truly be the writing on the wall for many more of the capital’s locals.’ 

The Mayor of London previously explained the annual fireworks display, which typically takes place near the London Eye, will not go ahead as 'we can't afford' to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: The 2020 celebration

The Mayor of London previously explained the annual fireworks display, which typically takes place near the London Eye, will not go ahead as 'we can't afford' to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: The 2020 celebration

The Mayor of London previously explained the annual fireworks display, which typically takes place near the London Eye, will not go ahead as ‘we can’t afford’ to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: The 2020 celebration

She added: ‘The Government has to stop picking on our pubs and recognise its own evidence that shows they are safe. If it won’t, then it must deliver grant support in line with that of Scotland and Wales.’

It comes after the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks were scrapped by London’s Mayor in September. 

Sadiq Khan confirmed the display, which typically takes place near the London Eye, would not go ahead because ‘we can’t afford’ to have large numbers of people congregating amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mr Khan added the New Year will instead be welcomed by ‘something that people can enjoy in the comfort of their living rooms,’ but he was unable to give details.

The move was quickly slammed by industry insiders, with Peter Heath of the Professional Lighting and Sound Association urging Mr Khan to ‘think about the impact of cancelling live events on industry, on the UK economy and the wellbeing of citizens.’ 

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