Restaurants across London have been inundated with reservations as patrons reserve tables before the lockdown is lifted next week.
The seats in many top restaurants in exclusive restaurants across the capital were already allocated during the Prime Dinner slots. The OpenTable booking site and the restaurants' online booking systems indicate limited or no availability.
Some popular places have already filled their diaries for the best dinner times on the weekend and into the next week.
Some restaurants are not available after 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, with a similar picture until the weekend.
The hotel industry was boosted earlier this week by news that restaurants can reopen if restrictions are eased on December 3rd.
Gymkhana, Mayfair: No tables after 5:30 p.m. on Thursday or after 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 4th in popular Indian restaurant
The tables for top-notch dinner slots are full at the Gymkhana in Mayfair, the website shows
Coya, Mayfair: This exclusive London restaurant will run out of tables from 5:30 p.m. on Thursday 3rd December
The online booking service only shows one table on Thursday and 5.30 p.m.
Pubs, bars and cafes will also be allowed to reopen if England exits national lockdown.
But as Prime Minister Boris Johnson will once again transform the nation into a tiered system, the restrictions at higher tiers will continue to remain strict.
London's top restaurateurs and hoteliers warned that placing the capital in Tier 3 would wipe out half of the hotel industry and set off a “nuclear bomb” of job losses after Christmas.
Labor Mayor Sadiq Khan also wants the city to be ranked Tier 2, claiming Tier 3 is a hammer blow that bars, restaurants and clubs "may not recover" from.
But before the steps were announced, optomist guests grabbed the upper tables to prepare for the lockdown to end.
In the Michelin-starred Gymkhana restaurant in Mayfair, the tables were fully booked on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. and well into the next week with only limited tables for dinner from 6:00 p.m.
The Indian restaurant draws its theme from the colonial British-Indian "gymkhana" clubs and specializes in tandoori and chatpatta dishes.
Bagatelle, Mayfair: Tables are no longer available in the famous celebrity meeting point on Thursday after 6.30 p.m.
Bagatelle's online booking system shows very few places for dinner on Thursday. Reservations are made over a week in advance for December 10th
Goodman, Mayfair: Tables are not available between 5:45 pm and 9:00 pm on Thursdays. First-class dinner slots in the popular steakhouse restaurant are fully booked until the weekend
The Steakhouse's online booking system does not show availability on Thursday evenings between 5.45 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Sexy Fish, Mayfair: No tables from Thursday, December 3, 5:30 p.m. – another restaurant where demand has risen sharply
Tables will become unavailable starting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. after guests rushed to book tables to celebrate the lifting of the lockdown
The Duck and Waffle Restaurant in Bishopsgate is also fully booked in first-class slots without tables from 6.45pm on Friday evening.
Mayfair restaurants Coya, Bagatelle and Goodman were in a similar situation with few or no tables available for booking.
Coya's online booking system also showed that for much of the weekend the tables were occupied by avid gourmets and there were only a few seats left to book.
On Thursday, their website will stop showing tables after 5:30 p.m.
Goodman Steakhouse in Mayfair had no tables available between 5.45pm and 9pm on Thursday. The best dinner slots were also fully booked on the weekend.
Popular celebrity hangout Bagatelle ran out of tables on Thursday from 6:30 p.m., the website shows, while Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square was no longer available from 5:30 p.m.
Sushisamba, Covent Garden: The website displays tables at the best hours of the evening on Friday and Saturday, while guests book tables when the lock is released
Duck and Waffle, Bishopsgate: No tables after 6.45pm for dinner on Friday night
The Bishopsgate Restaurant had dinner available for an early evening meal, but nothing after 6.45pm on Friday
WHAT ARE THE NEW ANIMAL RULES?
Level one will be the default and action cannot be more relaxed in any part of England:
- The rule of six and social distancing apply to both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
- Pubs and restaurants may only be opened with table service and a closing time of 11 p.m.
- People from separate households cannot meet inside and the rule of six applies outside;
- Pubs have to close unless they work as restaurants. Alcoholic drinks are served with meals.
Level three will be the toughest level of restrictions and the rules have been tightened to make them stricter than before. All Tier Two rules apply, plus the following:
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and bowling alleys must be closed.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must be closed except for takeout.
- Shops, hairdressers and salons can remain open;
- Groups of six people are only allowed to meet outdoors.
- Crowds at live events are prohibited.
- People should avoid traveling to or from Tier 3 areas unless it is inevitable.
The popular Sushisamba restaurant's website also displays tables for the best evening hours on Friday and Saturday, which were quickly found at their Covent Garden location.
While OpenTable also shows that its restaurants in both Covent Garden and the city are unable to take reservations for Thursday dinner.
Diners rushed to tables when Boris Johnson announced on Monday The national lockdown ends December 2nd, but the UK will return to a stricter system of tiers by March 31st.
He is expected to split the nation into three levels of alert today and companies are eagerly awaiting what curbs they will see.
The regional tiered system iIt is expected to last until the end of March 2021.
Restaurants are allowed to open under the new rules, while non-essential retail stores and gyms have been given the green light to reopen completely, as have indoor entertainment options on levels 1 and 2.
The six rule and social distancing measures still apply, with indoor dining limited to six people from one household or support bubble, or six people from different households if the reservation is for business purposes.
The government also announced changes to the 10 p.m. curfew.
Mr Johnson revealed a plan so that while final orders have to be called at 10 p.m., people have an extra hour to finish their food and drink. The opening times will be extended to 11 p.m.
However, the Prime Minister announced that tier 2 pubs will only be able to serve drinks with a “substantial meal”, while tier 3 pubs will only serve take-away.
Speaking at a self-isolation press conference on Downing Street, Mr. Johnson said, "It's the time of year to be funny, but it's also the time to be funny, careful, especially with older relatives."
The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the toughest restrictions since the pandemic began. But pub bosses claim their businesses are being slaughtered like "sacrificial lambs" to unlock other parts of the economy. Pictured: Closed pub on Tottenham Court Road
Pubs claim they are being slaughtered like “sacrificial lambs” to unlock other parts of the economy, and landlords have grown angry at new restrictions.
They accuse the Prime Minister of failing to provide evidence that stricter measures in the hospitality industry will help reduce the spread of infections this winter.
The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the toughest restrictions since the pandemic began – closed in both national lockdowns – and thousands of pubs in the community have struggled to survive.
Nik Antona, CEO of CAMRA, railed: “Pubs – especially those that do not serve food – are offered as sacrificial lamb with no evidence or explanation of why they are treated more severely than shops and gyms. & # 39;
Nick Mackenzie, Greene King CEO, announced this morning that there have only been a handful of cases in hundreds of the chain's pubs since the summer.
UK Hospitality Director Kate Nicholls also wrote on Twitter: "The Christmas morale boosting schedule has been a soul and business devastation for hospitality."
& # 39; Could we have a morale boost in the form of help to get trading back?
"We don't want handouts. The best support you can give us is to let us open up with our world's best secure protection from Covid."
Pubs lose 180 MILLION pints in sales during the holiday season as families are banned from visiting PUBs in five-day bubbles
By Danyal Hussain for Mail Online
The bosses missed 180 million pints in sales over the Christmas period, the bosses warned after the government eased the Christmas lockdown but banned families from visiting the pub together.
According to the guidelines published on Tuesday, three households are allowed to form “Christmas bubbles” for five days during the festive period, visit each other and stay overnight.
However, you won't be able to hit their bubbles in pubs, hotels, retail stores, theaters or restaurants between December 23rd and 27th.
Pub bosses have beaten the government over the rules, calling it "treason" and warning that it could destroy the hospitality industry. The analysis suggests that individual pub landlords could lose £ 50,000 in pint sales.
The British Beer and Pub Association says at least 180 million fewer pints will be consumed in pubs in December as the rules and restrictions mean 90 percent of the venues cannot be profitable.
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin also warned that government policies could have a devastating impact on hospitality jobs.
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is one of several pub industry leaders who beat the government for not allowing Christmas bubbles to meet in pubs
Up to three households can gather for Christmas – but between December 23rd and 27th, they won't be able to meet their Christmas bubbles in pubs, hotels, retail stores, theaters, or restaurants
In a statement, he said: “No one in the government appears to have experience running a business – and their current policies appear to be designed to lose a million hospitality jobs, leading to further job losses across the economy leads . & # 39;
The association has meanwhile written to Rishi Sunak demanding greater financial support while accusing the government of causing "unnecessary and irreversible pain" to the sector.
It has also requested that the evidence supporting the decision be fully disclosed.
General Manager Emma McClarkin said, “These Christmas plans mock the additional restrictions placed on pubs and the economic devastation they face this Christmas.
“How can it be that pubs cannot open properly while households in private surroundings can mingle?
& # 39; Government data has consistently shown that door-to-door transmission is one of the highest, while open hospitality only accounts for 2% of Covid incidents.
What are the UK rules for Christmas?
- Three households are allowed to form a Christmas bubble and meet inside.
- The relaxation of the rules applies for five days from December 23rd to 27th.
- & # 39; Christmas bubbles & # 39; are allowed to gather in private houses, outdoors and at places of worship.
- The UK plan means people will be allowed to travel across the country to meet with their family.
- This includes places to and from places at different levels as well as between British nations
- & # 39; Christmas bubbles & # 39; must be repaired and cannot be changed – households must be exclusive.
- & # 39; Christmas Bubbles & # 39; are not allowed to meet in hospitality environments such as pubs and restaurants.
- People in a bubble don't need to keep social distancing.
- However, they are advised to use restraint and judgment when trying to mingle with vulnerable friends or family members.
- Instructions on the Christmas carol and other topics will be released later this week.
- Children whose parents are separated can move between two separate bubbles.
& # 39; Pubs are a controlled, safe and regulated environment in which to socialize – in accordance with all government guidelines and with Track & Trace from the NHS. You are part of the solution to a safe and enjoyable Christmas, not the problem.
"It seems that the government has decided to inflict unnecessary pain and irreversible damage on our sector without releasing evidence alongside those decisions."
The new Christmas Bubble Actions will run from Wednesday 23 December to Sunday 27 December, paving the way for families in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Travel across plains in England is permitted, as is travel between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But a blow for the hotel industry, the Christmas bubbles may only meet in private houses, places of worship and in public spaces outdoors.
The rules for pubs, restaurants and other venues remain the same no matter which level they are in.
In tier 2 areas, this means that pubs can only sell alcohol if customers buy a substantial meal with their drinks. In Tier 3 zones, they can only sell take-away drinks.
UKHospitality executive director Kate Nicholls accused the government of "mixed thinking" about excluding hospitality businesses from the relaxed Christmas rules.
She said, “This is quickly becoming a pre-Christmas nightmare for hospitality. While no one disapproves of families who gather during the festive season, the safest place to do so would be a well-run and controlled hotel.
"It is certainly better when hotels are open and offer accommodation than when several households are cramped in a single house."
Ms. Nicholls added, “If the government excludes these companies in these new rules, it will show mixed thinking and will cause even more damage to the sector so soon after the new tier restrictions are announced.
"Pubs should be seen as part of the solution to bring people a well-deserved safe and enjoyable Christmas, especially given that mixing multiple households into private households is an exponentially higher risk."
Labor MP Emma Hardy, who represents Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, asked on Twitter: “Why can't families hang out in a restaurant during the Christmas break? Our hospitality industry will not recover if it misses trading at this crucial time. & # 39;
Ms. Hardy said she asked the government questions asking for "evidence" to support the decision.
The new Christmas Bubble Actions will run from Wednesday 23 December to Sunday 27 December, paving the way for families in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Ms. McClarkin argued that pubs should be "fully compensated" if they couldn't open over Christmas.
"Christmas is the most important time of year for trading in our industry," she added.
& # 39; More than ever this year. Without them, thousands will not survive the winter if the government doesn't do the right thing and steps in with financial support to help them. This means grants that fully cover your fixed costs, like the first time you were blocked.
“We all need a festive cheer after this tough year – and we want everyone to be able to safely enjoy a beer with family and friends in their local pub this Christmas.
"After all, Christmas won't be the same if we can't go to the local."
Michael Kill, executive director of the Night Time Industries Association, said the government had "torn the vague vestiges of the Christmas spirit out of the hands of many companies in the sector."
"The new restrictions coming into effect next week and the relaxation of many businesses over Christmas, as well as the deliberate exclusion of the night economy from the Christmas schedules, have left many frustrated and angry with the lack of consideration for people and businesses," said Kill.
He added, “The government just got it wrong. It is a terrible misjudgment for everyone at such an important time of year.
& # 39; Our sector has worked incredibly hard with government departments to ensure our businesses are Covid Safe, only to be faced again with impractical restrictions for which there is no evidence base.
"We were purposely sacrificed so that other sectors could open during the holiday season."
Boris Johnson is also being pressured by his own MPs over the new levels of coronavirus to be announced later in the week.
MPs have warned Mr Johnson that placing parts of the country under draconian Level 2 and 3 restrictions and causing a harmful new mutiny will be "catastrophic" for corporations.
Ministers insist that they wait for the latest local infection data to decide which brackets to put each area in. The breakdown is due to be released on Thursday.
But Whitehall sources said there would be very few districts in Tier One where indoor socializing will be allowed.
A source said it was "quite possible no one is in Tier One" when the latest Covid numbers were analyzed Wednesday by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
Older Conservatives say the "mood music" is that most places will be subject to the tougher levels – imposing severe restrictions on bars and restaurants, as well as restrictions on household mixing.
There have been complaints that the criteria for deciding on animal assignments are too vague and the geographic areas too broad. MPs and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have been lobbying to stay away from the toughest levels.
Alarming to Mr Johnson, the chairman of the mighty year 1922 said yesterday afternoon that he was "inclined" to oppose the measures in a vote next week.
Sir Graham Brady said he was concerned that the damage being done to the economy would "leave a legacy to live with for years to come".
Mr Johnson confirmed the blanket lockdown in England will end as planned next Wednesday, but warned that the coronavirus curbs will have to stay in place until Easter despite more good news about vaccines.