In an open letter addressed to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell, Lord Mayor of Westminster Jonathan Glanz, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, signed by restaurateurs including D&D London’s Des Gunewardena, Nick Jones from Soho House and Angela Hartnett, the Government is accused of ‘dithering’ and is being called on to take immediate action ‘before millions of jobs are lost and the economy of the entire country is affected’.
“Without the 21 million tourists and without the 4 million commuters that visit and work in London each year, what will London become?,” the letter reads.
“The government’s message is a confusing one. The dithering is not helping the economy get back on its feet, and it is not instilling confidence in the public to visit the attractions, theatres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, restaurants and bars that we are so proud of and that makes London the greatest of capitals.”
Measures being asked of the Government by the group include clear and succinct messaging from the government advocating a safe return to the workplace and London’s city centre; and encouraging families from around the UK to come to central London and to visit all of its attractions.
The group is also asking the Government to forgo the 14-day quarantine in favour of testing hose entering the country at every airport and every port and station and promoting London’s hotels while they offer low rates.
In relation to speculation that the Government could make a decision to cut VAT, the group demands it “doesn’t sit on the fence”. The letter states: “make your mind up on this and other national incentives so that they can be used now and not when it’s too late or indeed hanging out false hope.”
The letter concludes: “Without tourism, without millions of visitors spending millions of pounds, without office workers and daily commuters, our favourite places will close; Chinatown will shut down, Covent Garden will be empty and there will be no hustle and bustle on the streets of the City.
“London will not be able to lead a national recovery this time, as it has in the past, and many operators won’t make it to the end of the year.”