Coronavirus: UK businesses face catastrophic' as London's level set to escalate to high-risk

Kumutha Ramanathan
·Contributor
·2-min read
Canary Wharf
London is set to move into tier 2 of the government's new COVID-19 risk classification. Photo: Ki Price/Reuters

COVID-19 restrictions are set to tighten in London, with a ban expected to be put in place that restricts individuals from mixing with other households indoors. It will take effect from this weekend, according to Bloomberg.

“This news will come as a severe setback to businesses across London – particularly in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors,” said the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in a statement following the report.

That’s despite businesses being “fully aware that public health must come first and have been doing everything they can to keep staff and customers safe, whether in pubs, shops, or offices,” it added.

The change in the rules were reportedly discussed with London members of parliament and will be formally announced later on Thursday, according to people familiar with the plans.

Bloomberg reports that three people briefed on the restrictions said the change will come into force at 00:01hrs on Saturday.

WATCH: London to move into tier 2 lockdown

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and health leaders met on Wednesday to discuss moving the city to level two of the government’s COVID-19 levels, which sees places in the “high” alert status.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson reveals details of three-tier lockdown plan for England

Khan said “a short national circuit breaker will have the biggest impact on slowing the spread of this virus and could help avoid months of restrictions.”

Still, others in the business community fear what’s ahead.

“Hospitality businesses are between the rock and hard place,” said Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce. “Their trade is impacted by the restrictions, yet there’s not sufficient support available to help them to stay open. Many would rather be in a tier 3 area, as at least if they were required to close by law they would be able to access grants and the more generous furlough scheme.”

He is calling on the UK government to provide more financial support for the London business community, particularly those working in hospitality.

"The government must also end the 10pm curfew to allow longer trading, as whatever evidence basis they are working from will now have changed due to the consequence of tier 2 restrictions,” he added.

WATCH: How will England’s three-tier lockdown system work?