Dash for fine-dining when lockown ends: Tables are ALREADY booked up at exclusive Mayfair and Soho restaurants as capital its pins hopes on a return to Tier Two
- Diners dashed to secure seats at exclusive eateries for when lockdown is lifted
- Restaurant booking website OpenTable shows restaurants have booked up fast
- Exclusive eateries have also been inundated with direct website bookings online
- It is a boost for the hospitality sector after restaurants had to close for lockdown
Seats at many top restaurants in exclusive eateries across the capital have already been snapped up, with booking site OpenTable and restaurants’ online booking systems showing limited or no availability left.
Some popular spots have already seen their diaries fill for prime dinner times over the weekend and into next week.
The hospitality industry was boosted by the news earlier this week that restaurants will be able to reopen when restrictions are eased on December 3.
Mayfair restaurant Gymkhana is another popular dining loction which has seen bookings surge since the announcement that lockdown will be lifted
Coya’s online booking system also showed tablesat their Mayfair restaurant have been filled by keen foodies for much of the weekend, with very few remaining slots left to book
Pubs, bars and cafes will also be allowed to reopen when England comes out of the national lockdown.
But as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to carve the nation into a tiered system once again, the restrictions in higher tiers are set to remain tight.
London’s top restaurateurs and hoteliers warned that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half the hospitality industry and trigger an ‘atomic bomb’ of job losses after Christmas.
Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan also wants the city to be placed in Tier 2 claiming that tier 3 would be a hammer blow that bars, restaurants, and clubs ‘might not recover from’.
But before the tiers were announced, optomistic diners snapped up top tables in preparation for the end of lockdown.
At the Gymkhana restaurant in Mayfair, tables were booked up from 5.30pm on Thursday and well into next week with only limited tables for dinner from 6pm onwards.
Bagatelle also has no tables from 6.30pm on Thursday in their exclusive Mayfair restaurant, their website shows
Goodman steakhouse in Mayfair also had no slots available between 5.45 and 9pm on Thursday, with the prime dinner slots also booked up at the weekend
The Sexy Fish restaurant in Mayfair (pictured) was another restaurant that saw a surge in demand
Tables are not available from 5.30pm onwards on Thursday after diners rushed to book tables to celebrate lockdown being lifted
The Duck and Waffle restaurant in Bishopsgate has also been booked up in prime slots on Friday evening with no tables from 6.45pm.
Mayfair restaurants Coya, Bagatelle and Goodman were in a similar situation with little or no tables available for people to book.
Coya’s online booking system also showed tables have been filled by keen foodies for much of the weekend, with very few remaining slots left to book.
On Thursday their website shows no tables from 5.30pm onwards.
Goodman steakhouse in Mayfair also had no tables available between 5.45 and 9pm on Thursday, with the prime dinner slots also booked up at the weekend.
Popular celebrity haunt Bagatelle also has no tables from 6.30pm on Thursday, their website shows, while Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square had no availability from 5.30pm.
Booking systems on Sushisamba’s website show tables at prime evening hours on Friday and Saturday have quickly been snapped up as diners dash to book tables for when lockdown is lifted. Pictured: Sushisamba Covent Garden
The Duck and Waffle restaurant in Bishopsgate (pictured) has also been booked up in prime slots on Friday evening
WHAT ARE THE NEW TIER RULES?
Tier One will be the default and measures will not be allowed to get more relaxed in any part of England:
- Rule of six and social distancing apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors;
- Pubs and restaurants are allowed to open with table service only and an 11pm closing time.
- People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside;
- Pubs must close unless operating as restaurants, with alcoholic drinks served alongside meals;
Tier Three will be the toughest level of restrictions and rules have been tightened up to make them stricter than before. All of the Tier Two rules apply as well as the following:
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close;
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway;
- Shops and hairdressers and salons will be allowed to remain open;
- Groups of six will be allowed to meet outdoors only;
- Crowds at live events will be banned;
- People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier Three areas unless it is unavoidable.
The website of the popular Sushisamba restaurant also shows tables at prime evening hours on Friday and Saturday have quickly been snapped up at their Covent Garden site.
While OpenTable also shows their restaurants in both Covent Garden and the City are unable to accept reservations for dinner on Thursday.
The diaries of restaurants in London’s Soho also looked similarly full. Kricket had no tables from 6.30pm on Thursday.
Diners rushed to secure tables when Boris Johnson announced on Monday the national lockdown will end on December 2, but Britain will go back to a stricter system of tiers until March 31.
He is expected today to carve up the nation into three alert levels, leaving businesses anxiously waiting to hear which curbs they will face.
The regional tiered system is expected to last until the end of March 2021.
Restaurants are allowed to open under the new rules, while non-essential retail and gyms were given the green light to fully reopen, as was indoor entertainment venues in Tiers 1 and 2.
The rule of six and social distancing measures still apply, with indoor dining limited to six people from one household or support bubble, or six people from various households if the reservation is for business purposes.
The government also announced changes to the 10pm curfew.
Mr Johnson unveiled a plan so that while last orders must be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish their food and drinks, with opening hours to be extended until 11pm.
But the Prime Minister announced that pubs in Tier 2 can only serve drinks with a ‘substantial meal’, while those in Tier 3 are limited to just takeaways.
Taking a press conference from self-isolation in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives.’
Tables for prime dinner slots have filled up at Gymkhana in Mayfair, their website shows
The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the harshest restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. But pub bosses claim their businesses are being put to the slaughter like ‘sacrificial lambs’ in order to unlock other parts of the economy. Pictured: Closed pub on Tottenham Court Road
He added: ‘This is not the moment to let the virus rip for the sake of Christmas parties’.
Pubs claim they are being put to the slaughter like ‘sacrificial lambs’ in order to unlock other parts of the economy, and landlords have fumed in the face of fresh restrictions.
They accuse the PM of failing to provide evidence that tighter measures on the hospitality sector will help reduce the spread of infection this winter.
The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the harshest restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic – closed in both national lockdowns – leaving thousands of community pubs fighting for survival.
Nik Antona, chief executive of CAMRA, railed: ‘Pubs – particularly those which don’t serve food – are being offered up as a sacrificial lamb without any evidence or explanation as to why they are being treated more harshly than the likes of shops and gyms.’
Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie revealed this morning that there has only been a handful of cases across hundreds of the chain’s pubs since the summer.
Kate Nicholls, the head of UK Hospitality, also wrote on Twitter: ‘The ‘morale boosting’ Christmas plan was soul and business destroying for hospitality.
‘Could we have a morale boost in the form of help to get back trading.
‘We don’t want handouts – best support you can give us would be to let us open with our world best Covid secure protections.’