Matt Hancock announces Tier 3 restrictions for London
Professor Karol Sikora spoke out after the Government announced the capital would move into the toughest lockdown tier with just a week to go before Christmas. From one minute past midnight on Wednesday, all hospitality venues will be forced to close their indoor seating areas and will only be allowed to remain open for takeaway services.
Under the new raft of rules indoor entertainment venues – such as bowling alleys and cinemas – must also close their doors.
Prof Sikora, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Buckingham Medical School and a former director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) cancer programme, said this would be a point of no return for many employers.
He called on Boris Johnson’s Government to offer increased financial support to help the struggling businesses over the festive season.
He tweeted: “With London in Tier 3, thousands and thousands more businesses will be pushed over the brink.
London businesses could be pushed over the brink by Tier 3, a professor has warned
Pubs and restaurants in London will be forced to close their seating areas
“Gino’s, my favourite little cafe, and many others like them won’t stand a chance.
“If they are forced to close their doors, then Govt has to at least do more to properly support them.”
The warning from Prof Sikora, a consultant oncologist, comes as Londoners prepared for their final day of being allowed to dine in restaurants and drink in pubs.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said urgent action was necessary – before the next scheduled review of England’s three-tier system on Wednesday – due to the “sharp, exponential rises” in cases of COVID-19.
Matt Hancock urged people not to come to London for Christmas shopping
Under Tier 3, people will be banned from mixing with people from outside their household or bubble in both indoor settings and at most outdoor venues.
Groups of up to six people are allowed to gather at parks.
Gyms, shops and salons are permitted to stay open.
All of Greater London will be moved into the highest tier together with communities in the south of Hertfordshire and the south and west of Essex.
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Boris Johnson has been urged to do more to support businesses
Matt Hancock insisted the move to Tier 3 was necessary to slow the spread of the virus
Hospitality industry chiefs have reacted with concern to the Government’s latest announcement.
The fresh restrictions will come into force just two weeks after pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes were allowed to reopen following a second national lockdown in England.
This, they warned, would put nearly 8,000 more jobs at risk.
UK coronavirus map
A waiter at a London pub wears a Santa hat and Christmas jumper
In total, 56,000 jobs in the sector are now at risk with all of the capital’s 3,680 pubs forced to close except for takeaways, according to the trade association.
The group is calling for more financial support for pubs and brewers across the country.
Shoppers in London’s Oxford Street
“It could completely destroy many pubs in London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex who have taken bookings for the lead-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve if the tiers don’t change before then.
“It is cruel on hardworking publicans doing all they can to support their communities and invest in implementing all the required safety measures. Especially as the Government’s own evidence shows pubs are safe.
“It is also cruel in stopping friends, families and loved-ones from using their local this Christmas as a safe space to socialise in, with all the evidence showing that pubs are ranked amongst the lowest places for transmission.”