West End restaurateurs slam being forced to close as they throw out unused food ahead of Tier 3

West End restaurateurs have slammed the enforced closure brought on by Tier 3 as they throw out bags and boxes of unused food – as police officer and Covid-19 volunteers cleared away the last of London’s drinkers. 

Millions of pounds worth of food could go to waste as a result of the capital going into tighter Covid-19 restrictions, UKHospitality has warned, as top restaurants and pubs enjoyed one last night of business before closing during the usually busy Christmas period.  

London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be put under Tier Three curbs from tonight with hospitality venues receiving less than 48-hours notice to close.

While some restaurants are choosing to rely on deliveries during the lockdown measures, other dine-in venues have warned an ‘immense amount’ of food and drink will be binned.  

One London restaurant owner revealed the move into Tier 3 had already cost him £42,000 in lost bookings, in addition to a week’s worth of wasted stock. While The Breakfast Group chain said it would lose up to £50,000 of fresh food and drink.

Police and Covid-19 volunteers were seen ordering people to leave the streets of Soho on Tuesday as they came to enjoy one last drink before London entered Tier 3, albeit with a substantial meal, but crowds remained on the street well into last night.

Police and Covid marshalls were out in Soho tonight ordering Londoners to finish off their drinks and substantial meals as the capital entered Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions

Police and Covid marshalls were out in Soho tonight ordering Londoners to finish off their drinks and substantial meals as the capital entered Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions

Police and Covid marshalls were out in Soho tonight 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

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

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

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

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 on Tuesday night 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

Revellers remained on the streets of Soho on Tuesday night 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

Revellers remained on the streets of Soho on Tuesday night 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 

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.

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 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.’ 

Gavin Rankin, owner of Bellamy’s in Mayfair, told MailOnline this 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’.

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

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

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

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

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 this evening after a final day of drinking before London entered Tier 3 with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire

Crowds were in no rush to leave Soho this evening after a final day of drinking before London entered Tier 3 with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire

Crowds were in no rush to leave Soho this evening 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 tonight to ensure drinkers left and complied with social distancing amid growing Covid-19 infections across London

Up to 20 police officer and volunteers were on the streets of Soho tonight to ensure drinkers left and complied with social distancing amid growing Covid-19 infections across London

Up to 20 police officer and volunteers were on the streets of Soho tonight 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 on Tuesday night

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 on Tuesday night

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 on Tuesday night 

In North London, darts fans packed into a socially distanced Alexandra Palace for a night of World Darts Championship action

In North London, darts fans packed into a socially distanced Alexandra Palace for a night of World Darts Championship action

In North London, darts fans packed into a socially distanced Alexandra Palace for a night of World Darts Championship action

Tonight's 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

Tonight's 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

Tonight’s 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

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.  

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 are donating their food tonight.

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.’

Some venues were selling drinks for as little as 99p today 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.’

News of higher restrictions in London and parts of the home counties comes as: 

  • Daily cases hit 18,450 today, up 50 per cent on last Tuesday, although deaths were down;  
  • Pressure was heaped on Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to abandon Christmas ‘bubbles’ or ‘lives will be lost’;
  • Matt Hancock urged Britons to consider pre-isolating now before meeting elderly relatives at Christmas ; 
  • The number of coronavirus cases in England dropped by a quarter during the second national lockdown, the Government-backed REACT-1 study revealed.  
Pubs and restaurants closed as hospitality experts warned tighter restrictions could cost the industry billions in the run up to Christmas

Pubs and restaurants closed as hospitality experts warned tighter restrictions could cost the industry billions in the run up to Christmas

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

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

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 tonight's move into Tier 3 will wipe £2.7billion from the hospitality industry as it closes during the festive rush

Experts warned tonight's move into Tier 3 will wipe £2.7billion from the hospitality industry as it closes during the festive rush

Experts warned tonight’s 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 tonight

Restaurants in Soho are expecting to rely on delivery services, as they have done during previous lockdowns, but others are donating their food tonight

Restaurants in Soho are expecting to rely on delivery services, as they have done during previous lockdowns, but others are donating their food tonight 

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

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

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 Tuesday 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 £2.7bn 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 this 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

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

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

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

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 on Tuesday 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 has started to fill with people heading out for one last drink - with a substantial meal - before Tier 3 restrictions begin

Soho has started to fill with people heading out for one last drink - with a substantial meal - before Tier 3 restrictions begin

Soho has 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

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

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 tonight Soho and other parts of the capital are welcoming visitors are opening for the last time before rules tighten

Pubs and restaurants were preparing to welcome visitors under Tier 2 restrictions in London, but tonight Soho and other parts of the capital are welcoming visitors are opening for the last time before rules tighten

Pubs and restaurants were preparing to welcome visitors under Tier 2 restrictions in London, but tonight Soho and other parts of the capital are welcoming visitors are opening for the last time before rules tighten

Police are out patrolling restaurants while staff ensure people are following Tier 2 measures by purchasing a 'substantial meal,' with a drink

Police are out patrolling restaurants while staff ensure people are following Tier 2 measures by purchasing a 'substantial meal,' with a drink

Police are 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

Andy Jones, 40, owns Jones & Sons restaurant in Dalston, east London

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.   

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‘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 today, 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 tonight, some pubs started to welcome visitors from around 10.30am for one last drink before venues are forced to close

While the streets of Soho have started to fill tonight, some pubs started to welcome visitors from around 10.30am for one last drink before venues are forced to close

While the streets of Soho have started to fill tonight, 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

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

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

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

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

Industry insiders called for an urgent support package for the hospitality sector to help businesses survive into the New Year

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

There are concerns that the closure will impact livelihoods, as well as the mental health of workers and regular visitors to venues

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

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

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

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

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

Social media users reacted to the news that stock would go to waste as businesses were moved into Tier 3 at short notice

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

A rise in infections means London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be put under Tier Three curbs from tonight

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

Several people were concerned about the short notice for the hospitality industry which would lead of businesses with surplus stock

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 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 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'

This Twitter user said the situation was 'not a fair way to treat people'

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. 
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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’. 

The man who gambled thousands to save the West End: Despair for Christmas Carol producer whose star-studded show opened for 24 hours before Tier 3 closed the curtains… as London theatres lose £75m in festive takings

By Mark Duell for Mail Online 

Producers behind West End shows including the new musical A Christmas Carol were left in despair today as theatres faced financial disaster following the decision to put London into Tier Three.

The show at the Dominion Theatre had its star-studded officially opening night yesterday just one day before it will shut after tonight’s performance, with Amanda Holden attending today’s matinee with her daughter Hollie, eight.

A Christmas Carol has been produced by Gary England with musical director Freddie Tapner for the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and has been in previews since December 7. The show was set to run until January 2.

Mr England had not been expecting to make a profit on the show and instead wanted to help people within the industry from actors to technical crews and stage door keepers to front of house staff to ‘get back to work’.

But it will now have only two further performances at 3pm and 7.30pm today – with star Brian Conley, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, saying last night: ‘We opened tonight. We close tomorrow. What’s that all about?’

The Grade II-listed Dominion – which could seat 1,000 for the show, half its normal capacity – is owned by the New York-based Nederlander Organization, which also owns the Aldwych and Adelphi theatres in London.

Mr England, 51, said it had been a ‘herculean task’ to get the show on and it had been a ‘hugely risky business but ultimately it came from the heart’, adding that he was a ‘commercial producer’ and not funded by the Arts Council.

Speaking last Wednesday in a podcast called Passions, Mr England added: ‘It’s not only our money that’s invested, it’s our investors’ money, and there’s obviously a huge sense of responsibility that goes along with that.’

Basingstoke-based Mr England took on the project after meeting Mr Tapner in February 2019 and they originally wanted to put on the show at the London Coliseum from November 2020 with the English National Opera.

But this plan was cancelled because it was not commercially viable – and he instead moved it to the Dominion after the venue became available because the return of current show The Prince of Egypt was delayed until 2021.

Mr England also told there has been a ‘huge business mindset in terms of mitigating risk and cost because you can’t get insurance for Covid in theatre at the moment’ and said: ‘We don’t have a bottomless pot of cash.’

He set up a company with Mr Tapner in October called ‘Three Ghosts Ltd’ but no accounts have yet been filed. He said you ‘don’t go into it with a mindset of making any money’, but he was desperate to help ‘actors, technical crew, stage door keepers, front of house staff, anybody within the industry – we just wanted to get back to work’.

Mr England, who is married and is originally from Hinckley, Leicestershire, has also worked as Ascot Racecourse hospitality director, English National Opera commercial director and sales chief at the Barbican Centre.

At the start of the second lockdown in November, Mr England said the team had considered pulling the whole show and saving 75 per cent of the capitalisation, ‘but it felt premature and it felt wrong to cancel at that point’.

West End box offices took an estimated £75million last December, and theatre owners had reported huge demand for tickets in recent days, with Nimax venues hosting 42 performances of 12 shows in six theatres in the last week. 

Theatre producer Gary England had not expecting to make a profit on the show and instead wanted to help people within the industry from actors to technical crews and stage door keepers to front of house staff to ‘get back to work'.

Theatre producer Gary England had not expecting to make a profit on the show and instead wanted to help people within the industry from actors to technical crews and stage door keepers to front of house staff to ‘get back to work'.

Theatre producer Gary England had not expecting to make a profit on the show and instead wanted to help people within the industry from actors to technical crews and stage door keepers to front of house staff to ‘get back to work’.

Amanda Holden is pictured arriving with her daughter Hollie for the matinee show at the Dominion Theatre this afternoon

Amanda Holden is pictured arriving with her daughter Hollie for the matinee show at the Dominion Theatre this afternoon

Amanda Holden is pictured arriving with her daughter Hollie for the matinee show at the Dominion Theatre this afternoon

Shows are now suspended, but tickets for some – including A Christmas Carol – are still on sale from Wednesday next week onwards when the next review of tiers is expected, amid faint hopes that London could be moved back down a tier on the day that the five-day Christmas bubbles begin. 

Many top West End shows such as The Lion King and Hamilton cost more than £400,000 a week to run, and City brokers Panmure Gordon estimates Tier Three will see London businesses lose £700million before Christmas.

A review in What’s On Stage said theatres closing felt a ‘very Scrooge-like gesture on the part of a government that has yet to prove they love the arts’, while London Theatre Direct said the show ‘certified itself as a must-see’. 

The show, which had tickets available for today’s matinee for between £43.75 to £72.50, also stars Busted singer Matt Willis, EastEnders actress Jacqueline Jossa, X Factor star Lucie Jones and Sandra Marvin from Emmerdale. 

Among the stars attending the UK premiere at the Dominion last night were Jessica Plummer from I’m A Celebrity, comedian Keith Lemon, stylist Gok Wan and TV presenter Emma Willis, who is also the wife of Matt Willis. 

Other West End shows which have now been cancelled include: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre), The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas (Charing Cross Theatre), The Play That Goes Wrong (Duchess Theatre), Potted Panto (Garrick Theatre), Pantoland (London Palladium), The Comeback (Noel Coward Theatre), Mischief Movie Night (Vaudeville Theatre) and Les Miserables: The All-Star Staged Concert (Sondheim Theatre). 

The update comes a day after the Government confirmed that London will move into Tier Three from tomorrow, requiring restaurants, pubs and other leisure and hospitality venues to shut their doors to customers. 

Families wait to go inside the Dominion Theatre in London's West End today for the last matinee of A Christmas Carol for now

Families wait to go inside the Dominion Theatre in London's West End today for the last matinee of A Christmas Carol for now

Families wait to go inside the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End today for the last matinee of A Christmas Carol for now

Jessica Plummer

Jessica Plummer

Keith Lemon

Keith Lemon

Jessica Plummer (left) from I’m A Celebrity and comedian Keith Lemon (right) were at London’s Dominion Theatre last night

A Christmas Carol has been on stage at the London Palladium since December 7 but had its official opening night yesterday

A Christmas Carol has been on stage at the London Palladium since December 7 but had its official opening night yesterday

A Christmas Carol has been on stage at the London Palladium since December 7 but had its official opening night yesterday

Hand sanitiser and temperature checks were in place before A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre in London last night

Hand sanitiser and temperature checks were in place before A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre in London last night

Hand sanitiser and temperature checks were in place before A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre in London last night 

Emma Willis

Emma Willis

Gok Wan

Gok Wan

Emma Willis (left), whose husband Matt is in the show, and Gok Wan (right) attend the opening night in London yesterday

Brian Conley, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, said last night: 'We opened tonight. We close tomorrow. What's that all about?'

Brian Conley, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, said last night: 'We opened tonight. We close tomorrow. What's that all about?'

Brian Conley, who plays Ebenezer Scrooge, said last night: ‘We opened tonight. We close tomorrow. What’s that all about?’

The British Beer & Pub Association said in London alone the restrictions will force 1,250 pubs that remained open in Tier Two to close, putting nearly 8,000 more jobs at risk. Under the new restrictions, which also apply to parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, entertainment venues including concert halls, cinemas and museums must also close. 

New West End Company, which represents local businesses, said it could not yet put a figure on the total losses that will be caused by the ‘hammer blow’, but pointed out that 10 per cent of all Londoners work in the West End.

The Dominion Theatre is owned by Nederlander Theatres, a division of the New York-based Nederlander Organization, whose president is James L. Nederlander (above)

The Dominion Theatre is owned by Nederlander Theatres, a division of the New York-based Nederlander Organization, whose president is James L. Nederlander (above)

The Dominion Theatre is owned by Nederlander Theatres, a division of the New York-based Nederlander Organization, whose president is James L. Nederlander (above)

Footfall in Central London has been significantly weaker this year due to travel restrictions, the enforced closure of shops and venues and guidance for workers to stay at home, with West End landlord Shaftesbury announcing a £699million annual loss today after the pandemic battered rental income and caused property values to plunge. 

Jon Ranger, a piano player on A Christmas Carol, said there will be ‘no viable way out for theatres’ unless the Government changes its policy on live entertainment.

He felt ‘a combination of anger, frustration, a bit of hopelessness’, saying: ‘We fought so hard as an industry to prove that we could open safely and we’d done everything that was asked of us, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.’

Mr Ranger said: ‘People’s mental health is really important and the reaction we’ve had from the audiences in previews and last night – last night was the best audience reaction I’ve ever had on any show that I’ve ever done, because people need this, they need something to enjoy in their lives and they need something to live for.’

Mr Ranger said that with the extensive planning that is needed to mount a show, theatres need to be allowed to open with more certainty that they will not be ‘told with 48 hours’ notice ‘now you have to close again”.

He added: ‘If the Government continue with this attitude and this direction, I don’t see a viable way out for theatres in the new year because it’s just not a business model that could operate like that.’

The show was written by famed Disney composer Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent and premiered in 1994 at New York’s Paramount Theatre before running for more than a decade at Madison Square Garden. 

Theatergoers queue outside the London Palladium in the West End today to watch the matinee performance of Pantoland

Theatergoers queue outside the London Palladium in the West End today to watch the matinee performance of Pantoland

Theatergoers queue outside the London Palladium in the West End today to watch the matinee performance of Pantoland

People queue outside the London Palladium this afternoon for the penultimate show of Pantoland before theatres close

People queue outside the London Palladium this afternoon for the penultimate show of Pantoland before theatres close

People queue outside the London Palladium this afternoon for the penultimate show of Pantoland before theatres close

People queue up ahead of the final matinee performance of Pantoland at the London Palladium today before Tier Three starts

People queue up ahead of the final matinee performance of Pantoland at the London Palladium today before Tier Three starts

People queue up ahead of the final matinee performance of Pantoland at the London Palladium today before Tier Three starts

People wait to get into the London Palladium today to watch Pantoland at the theatre owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber

People wait to get into the London Palladium today to watch Pantoland at the theatre owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber

People wait to get into the London Palladium today to watch Pantoland at the theatre owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber said it seemed 'arbitrary and unfair' to ban performances while shopping was still allowed

Andrew Lloyd Webber said it seemed 'arbitrary and unfair' to ban performances while shopping was still allowed

Cameron Mackintosh said forcing venues to close was devastating and 'smacked of panic'

Cameron Mackintosh said forcing venues to close was devastating and 'smacked of panic'

Andrew Lloyd Webber (left)r, who owns the London Palladium, said it seemed ‘arbitrary and unfair’ to ban performances while shopping was still allowed, while Cameron Mackintosh (right) said forcing venues to close ‘smacked of panic’

Theatre producer Nica Burns co-owns the Nimax Theatres group, which has hosted 12 shows in six theatres in the last week

Theatre producer Nica Burns co-owns the Nimax Theatres group, which has hosted 12 shows in six theatres in the last week

Theatre producer Nica Burns co-owns the Nimax Theatres group, which has hosted 12 shows in six theatres in the last week

It comes as Andrew Lloyd Webber said it seemed ‘arbitrary and unfair’ to ban performances while shopping was still allowed, while Cameron Mackintosh said forcing venues to close was devastating and ‘smacked of panic’. 

Top West End landlord Shaftesbury plunges to £700million loss as virus hits property valuations

West End landlord Shaftesbury has plummeted to a £699 million annual loss after the pandemic battered rental income and caused property values to plunge.

Shares in the company, whose properties span London’s Carnaby Street, Chinatown and Seven Dials, slipped after it swung to the pre-tax loss for the 12 months to September, following a £26 million profit last year.

The company said the loss was driven by a dive in the value of property estate, which is highly exposed to retail and hospitality sectors which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

It said £698.5 million was wiped off the value of its estate, taking its value down 18.3 per cent to £3.1 billion by September. Rental income slumped by 24.2 per cent to £74.3million for the period, Shaftesbury said. 

The group’s chief executive Brian Bickell said: ‘Rarely in history has the world seen such widespread disruption to normal patterns of life. Only now are we seeing the first positive signs that conditions will begin to improve in the year ahead.

‘The pandemic has had a significant impact on our performance, particularly during the second half of the financial year, depriving our hospitality and retail occupiers of footfall and trade and resulting in reduced rent collections, increased vacancy, reduced occupier demand and a fall in property valuations. Our key priority has been, and continues to be, supporting our occupiers through this period of disruption.’ 

Shares in the company were 3.7 per cent lower at 528.5p in early trading today.

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Jon Morgan of the Theatres Trust said: ‘It is a disaster for London’s theatres. 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 said the tier system meant ‘more uncertainty and risk for months’ and called on the Government to introduce an insurance scheme to support the industry.

Tier Two restrictions had allowed for socially-distanced performances and museums to welcome visitors. 

Among shows to be affected by the capital being plunged into Tier Three is Pantoland at the London Palladium, which opened on Saturday starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. 

Sir Cameron said: ‘The sudden volte face in deciding to immediately put London into Tier Three 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. It breaks 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.’

Lord Lloyd Webber said: ‘Theatres have worked tirelessly to make themselves as Covid safe as possible.

‘It does seem arbitrary and unfair that people can jostle uncontrolled in crowded shops yet orderly socially distanced theatre-going is banned.’ 

Analysis by the Sunday Times Rich List in May suggested Lord Lloyd Webber would take a £20million hit to his fortune due to the coronavirus pandemic, although this figure will have likely increased since. His calculated wealth is said to be £800million. 

Theatre producer Sonia Friedman said: ‘London going into Tier Three is yet another blow for British theatre – one it simply cannot afford after a brutal year, and one that both could and should have been avoided. 

‘It feels like a final straw: proof that this government does not understand theatre and the existential crisis it is facing. Its short-sightedness is starting to look like serial mismanagement.’

Michael Harrison, director of the Pantoland pantomime which opened at the London Palladium on Saturday, said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the financial impact of Tier Three restrictions on the West End. 

A Christmas Carol, which was due to run until January 2, stars entertainer Brian Conley, Busted singer Matt Willis, EastEnders actress Jacqueline Jossa, X Factor star Lucie Jones and Sandra Marvin from Emmerdale

A Christmas Carol, which was due to run until January 2, stars entertainer Brian Conley, Busted singer Matt Willis, EastEnders actress Jacqueline Jossa, X Factor star Lucie Jones and Sandra Marvin from Emmerdale

A Christmas Carol, which was due to run until January 2, stars entertainer Brian Conley, Busted singer Matt Willis, EastEnders actress Jacqueline Jossa, X Factor star Lucie Jones and Sandra Marvin from Emmerdale

The cast for A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre includes (back row, left to right) Sandra Marvin as Mrs Fezziwig, Matt Jay-Willis as Bob Cratchit, Brian Conley as Ebenezer Scrooge and Lucie Jones as The Ghost of Christmas Past, with (seated, left to right) Jacqueline Jossa as The Ghost of Christmas Future and Cedric Neal as The Ghost of Christmas Present

The cast for A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre includes (back row, left to right) Sandra Marvin as Mrs Fezziwig, Matt Jay-Willis as Bob Cratchit, Brian Conley as Ebenezer Scrooge and Lucie Jones as The Ghost of Christmas Past, with (seated, left to right) Jacqueline Jossa as The Ghost of Christmas Future and Cedric Neal as The Ghost of Christmas Present

The cast for A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre includes (back row, left to right) Sandra Marvin as Mrs Fezziwig, Matt Jay-Willis as Bob Cratchit, Brian Conley as Ebenezer Scrooge and Lucie Jones as The Ghost of Christmas Past, with (seated, left to right) Jacqueline Jossa as The Ghost of Christmas Future and Cedric Neal as The Ghost of Christmas Present

Producers posted a message online yesterday saying that the performances at 3pm and 7.3pm today will still be going ahead

Producers posted a message online yesterday saying that the performances at 3pm and 7.3pm today will still be going ahead

Producers posted a message online yesterday saying that the performances at 3pm and 7.3pm today will still be going ahead

People sat outside a pub in the West End of London last night after the announcement that the capital is going into Tier Three

People sat outside a pub in the West End of London last night after the announcement that the capital is going into Tier Three

People sat outside a pub in the West End of London last night after the announcement that the capital is going into Tier Three

He added: ‘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.’ 

Last pints before Christmas! London pubs throw open their doors from 9am and sell beers for 99p hours before the capital is plunged into Tier Three – as landlords warn 160,000 jobs are at risk and sector will lose £2.7bn 

Londoners have sat down to enjoy their last pub pints before Christmas – as industry experts warn more than 160,000 jobs in the hospitality industry have been put at risk by the move into Tier Three.

London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be put under Tier Three curbs from tonight.

Drinkers at a Wetherspoons pub in South West London today

Drinkers at a Wetherspoons pub in South West London today

Drinkers at a Wetherspoons pub in South West London today

But hospitality bosses slammed the ‘catastrophic’ decision to move London and parts of the home counties into the higher band of restrictions.

Under the new rules, only businesses offering takeaway and delivery will be allowed to remain open.

The move will wipe off £2.7billion from the hospitality industry in London as pubs, bars and restaurants are forced to close in the last two weeks of the year during what is typically their busiest trading time. They called for an urgent support package for the hospitality sector to help businesses survive.

It came as Londoners started drinking early at pubs across the capital before the city is plunged into Tier 3 tonight. Some businesses in the city opened their doors from 9am this morning and Wetherspoons were offering pints for as little as 99p in an attempt to get rid of stock with only hours to go before the shutdown.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their three children, went to watch the pantomime last week.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden was also in attendance. Discussing Mr Dowden’s visit, Mr Harrison said he was ‘thrilled to see him crying with laughter’.

He added that ‘it’s just a shame my entire cast and company are now crying because of the Government’s decision to put London into Tier Two just 12 days ago encouraging us all to press on with our productions only to realise that was in fact a mistake’.

Miss Paige tweeted: ‘Oliver Dowden [the Culture Secretary] saw it for himself. And yet Tubes and flights still allowed? These rules are illogical. The audience response shows how desperate they are for two hours of escapism. If it’s so terrible – cancel Christmas!’ 

Playwright James Graham said the theatre industry has been ‘decimated’ ahead of the closure of venues.

Entertainment venues in the capital and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will be welcoming visitors for the last time today before new Tier Three restrictions come into force.

Graham, who wrote Ink, This House and The Vote, as well as TV dramas Quiz and Brexit, labelled the move as ‘sad’.

He tweeted: ‘The largest concentration of theatres on earth managed to open last week, only to close tonight.

‘The hope was to revive a decimated sector and tell stories at Christmas. Thousands spent to get Covid secure, closed in blanket measures. So sorry. So sad.’ 

Julian Bird, chief executive of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the membership organisations which aim to promote the sector, also said the announcement is bad news for the industry.

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

‘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 per cent 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 Three restrictions.’

The Creative Industries Federation said the Tier Three 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 Three announcement.

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

The New West End Company, which represents businesses in the area, said they could not yet put a figure on the total losses to companies that will be caused by Tier Three, but pointed out that 10 per cent of all Londoners work in the West End.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at New West End Company, said: ‘We all recognise that the safety of the public is of paramount importance, and action must be taken to ensure that the infection rate remains low, but these stop start measures are worsening an already catastrophic situation. 

‘However well telegraphed, yesterday’s announcement comes as a hammer blow to the West End’s restaurants and hotels. Advising against travel will heap further pressure on retailers that have invested millions in enhanced safety measures and staff training to support trade.

‘We call on the Government to provide vital financial support to compensate these viable businesses. For all those Londoners locked down into tier three, our message is that the West End remains safe and open to you, so come and support these retail businesses and help protect local jobs.’ 

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

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