London and Essex will be subjected to tough new coronavirus measures to be imposed Friday as both areas enter Tier 2 of the Government’s Covid alert system. London will enter Tier 2 on Friday, October 16 with Essex following at the weekend.
Under Tier 2, households are also barred from mixing in pubs and restaurants and people should aim to reduce use of public transport. The move will affect 3,640 pubs and 7,556 restaurants across London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London, according to real estate adviser Altus Group.
Speaking at London’s City Hall, Labour mayor Sadiq Khan said there was “simply no other option”.
“Nobody wants to see more restrictions but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners,” he said.
Mr Khan said he is continuing to press the government for more financial support, adding that “we’ve got a difficult winter ahead”.
Schools, universities and places of worship are allowed to remain open, as well as offices and business venues.
All measures are subject to a review every 4 weeks.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned yesterday that a national lockdown would cause an ‘economic emergency’.
Moving London into tier 2 will be catastrophic for its hospitality businesses, unless improved job support and grants are made available immediately, UKHospitality has warned.
The trade body has warned that, unless tier 3 job support is applied to those businesses in tier 2, the sector is facing widespread job losses within weeks.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Being moved into tier 2 is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier 3. It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.
“Venues in London have already taken a hit due to the dip in inbound tourism and with people increasingly working from home. A move into tier 2 will now be catastrophic for some of them and it is only going to be made worse by the end of the furlough scheme in under two weeks.
“The Government must remove employer contributions from the Job Support Scheme for hospitality or apply tier 3 job support to tier 2 businesses. If it does not, we are looking at catastrophic businesses closures and widespread job losses in the capital as early as 1 November.”
The new London restrictions have also been criticised by some London MPs.
Tory MP for Bromley & Chislehurst, Bob Neill, told Politics Home: “A number of us are wholly unconvinced.
“I assume at some point we are going to vote on regional measures and as things stand I will be voting against it.
“There’s no reason this couldn’t be done borough by borough.”
While London is placed under “high risk” alert, swathes of the north of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands are expected to be placed in the “very high risk” Tier 3, as Covid-19 cases continue to increase across the country.
The announcement follows expectations that Greater Manchester is set to move into tier 3 the highest level of Covid restrictions