In a Tweet yesterday (15 October), Downey said the 'calamitous, misguided leadership' of the Government had meant there was no business left to save.
Trading as Street Feast, the food markets came under parent company London Union, and included Dinerama in Shoreditch; Hawker House in Canada Water; Giant Robot in Canary Wharf; and Model Market in Lewisham, which, in a separate Tweet, he said was held under a separate lease and so could return under a new operator one day.
Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions back in July, Downey had managed to reopen Dinerama, but was subsequently forced to shutter the site permanently last month after failing to reach a rent agreement with his landlord.
A pioneer of the street food market and bar model in the capital, Dinerama has previously been described by Downey as 'the best business he's ever been involved with'.
Speaking to BigHospitality, Downey says the decision to liquidate the business was '100% as a result of this Government’s response to Covid-19'.
"After suffering through four months of lockdown, without any grants or access to business interruption loan, we saw the start of the rot and decline. And then the curfew has absolutely killed us off," he says.
“You can’t operate with these restrictions. The industry is just fucked."
Downey, who founded the Hospitality Union group to deal with the massive disruption to the industry caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, adds that he's surprised about how unreceptive the Government has been in supporting the sector as it has sought to impose new restrictions on it, such as the 'rule of six' and the 10pm curfew.
“Having been brilliant at recognising the value of hospitality and taking extraordinary measures to help support our industry [at the start], they’ve set about to pull us apart piece by piece," he says.
"I just don’t understand it."
Downey's iconic Soho bar Milk & Honey, which he ran for 18 years, also closed last month.