Restaurant boss warns Doomsday will strike if Covid curbs stay

Restaurant boss warns Ministers of ‘Doomsday scenario’ for hospitality businesses unless Covid restrictions are removed as planned on June 21

One of Britain’s top restaurant bosses has warned Ministers of a ‘Doomsday scenario’ for hospitality businesses unless all major Covid restrictions are removed as planned on June 21. 

Jeremy King, whose London empire includes the celebrity haunts The Wolseley and The Delaunay, said many restaurants would ‘throw in the towel’ without good news on a series of key Covid-19 rules. 

The Government is facing a ‘perfect storm’ of crucial decisions this week, he said. 

Warning: Jeremy King, with wife Lauren, says many restaurants could close

These include deciding whether to extend the rent moratorium that stops businesses being evicted from their premises; whether to remove social distancing requirements and the one-metre rule on June 21; and whether to reopen the country to tourists and foreign staff. 

King told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We are at a crossroads for the hospitality industry. 

‘The Government has a massive role to play if it is to prevent multiple failures across the country and prevent a Doomsday scenario. These decisions present a perfect storm for the Government over the next week. 

‘They have to extend the rent moratorium for the hospitality and retail industry because if they do not, many will throw in the towel.’ 

He called for a clear plan for ‘how the hospitality industry climbs out of the abyss we are currently in’. 

King, who was forced to close his restaurants for much of the pandemic, believes that workers must be encouraged back to offices if restaurants are to survive. 

He also warned that a shortage of restaurant staff – many of whom would in recent years have been from abroad – is fuelling inflation, which will see menu prices rise. 

‘There is a double whammy of increased costs and increased wages, which is simply not sustainable if restaurants cannot operate at full capacity,’ King said.