Restaurant owner loses £42,000 worth of bookings as area enters Tier 3

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A restaurant owner has said he and his employees will be “left in the lurch” and are turning away custom as London moves to Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Andy Jones, who owns Jones & Sons restaurant, said he will lose hundreds of bookings, and a week’s worth of food will be “wasted”, as London moves into tougher Covid-19 restrictions on Wednesday.

“This week, we had about £42,000 worth of bookings in the system already,” he said.

“It’s a big restaurant, and when you’re stripping away that sort of money from people’s cash flow, when you take away the livelihoods of staff who have just joined me… there’s just a whole group of people left in the lurch.”

According to Tier 3 rules, which will apply in the capital as well as parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, hospitality venues must close, except for takeaway and delivery.

The restaurant, in Dalston, east London, will still be delivering takeaway meals on Sundays, but will otherwise be closed for business.

Mr Jones, 40, 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, how many kids in this country and in other countries that would kill for that food.

“I’m going to have to pay all my bills in January, I’ve got to pay my rent in 10 days, it’s unacceptable to give the hospitality industry 24 hours’ notice.”

The restaurant, which has been open for eight years, will see many staff eligible for Government furlough, but some new hires will not benefit from the scheme.

“It could have been handled so much better,” Mr Jones said.

“We have all of the necessary procedures in place, everybody has to wear a face mask, everybody has to sanitise their hands… this industry has gone to the nth degree to make sure we can remain open, and it’s just been ripped away from us.”

The fresh restrictions come into force just two weeks after pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes were allowed to reopen following a second national lockdown in England, and could see them remain closed throughout the Christmas and new year period.