Restaurant owners have warned that central London is a "ghost town" while theatres remain shut, and that many business are at risk of closure due to the lack of footfall.
A letter signed by major hospitality businesses, including Soho House and D&D restaurants, calls on London mayor Sadiq Khan and prime minister Boris Johnson to take more action to encourage people into the centre of the city.
Among the signatories are Michelin-starred chefs and restaurateurs Angela Hartnett and Michel Roux Jr, as well food critic Tom Parker Bowles and St John restaurant founders Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver.
The letter states: "While scenes of mobbed urban parks and packed seaside towns fill our screens, the centre of London remains a ghost town.
"Theatres are closed until 2021, the arts are trying to come out of hibernation, restrictions remain for cinema and visitor attractions, no sport can be attended, there are no public gatherings, concerts or events to attend."
It adds: "Without tourism, without millions of visitors spending millions of pounds, without office workers and daily commuters, our favourite places will close; Chinatown will shut down, Covent Garden will be empty and there will be no hustle and bustle on the streets of the city."
They are making a number of demands to Johnson, Khan, Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell and Lord Mayor of Westminster Jonathan Glanz.
Gulliver told The Stage: "Food and theatre are at the very heart of any great city, they dance together to bring joy and life and, dare I say it, commercial success."
Hartnett, chef at Murano and Cafe Murano, added: “A thriving theatre is a fundamental to our restaurant world in London – without it something is missing and is deeply missed. We must protect this living bond that is at the creative and emotional core of London town.
"Our theatres are places of magic, our theatre folk magical."
For the immediate attention of:
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Lord Mayor of the City of London William Russell
Lord Mayor of Westminster Jonathan Glanz
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
London Town needs you! London Welcomes You. London is Open.
Without the 21 million tourists and without the 4 million commuters that visit and work in London each year, what will London become? Immediate action must be taken before millions of jobs are lost and the economy of the entire country is affected.
The government’s message is a confusing one. The dithering is not helping the economy get back on its feet, and it is not instilling confidence in the public to visit the attractions, theatres, museums, galleries, cinemas, hotels, restaurants and bars that we are so proud of and that makes London the greatest of capitals.
While scenes of mobbed urban parks and packed seaside towns fill our screens, the centre of London remains a ghost town. Theatres are closed until 2021, the Arts are trying to come out of hibernation, restrictions remain for cinema and visitor attractions, no sport can be attended, there are no public gatherings, concerts or events to attend. The hotels have been closed and are expecting a lethargic recovery, there is no long distance tourism and those looking for cheap flights are leaving the country, not coming to it.
Without tourism, without millions of visitors spending millions of pounds, without office workers and daily commuters, our favourite places will close; Chinatown will shut down, Covent Garden will be empty and there will be no hustle and bustle on the streets of the City. London will not be able to lead a national recovery this time, as it has in the past, and many operators won’t make it to the end of the year.
We believe that if these points are actioned then our great city will be saved:
This letter is supported by:
Angela Hartnett MBE, Murano and Cafe Murano
Tom Parker Bowles, Critic and Food Writer
Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson, St. John
Nick Jones, Soho House
Michel Roux Jnr, Le Gavroche, Roux at the Landau
Richard Corrigan, Corrigan’s Mayfair, Bentley’s, Daffodil Mulligan
Henry Harris, Harcourt Inns
Soren Jessen, No1 Lombard Street and Ekte
Jonathon Downey, London Union
Des Gunewardena, D&D Restaurants
David Loewi, D&D Restaurants
Karam Sethi, JKS Restaurants
Jyotin Sethi, JKS Restaurants
Gemma Bell, Gemma Bell and Company
Neil Borthwick, The French House
Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson, Rochelle at the ICA
Geoffrey Leong, Dumpling Legend
Chris and Jeff Galvin, La Chapelle, Galvin at Windows, Galvin at The Athenaeum
Sam and Sam Clark, Moro, Morito
Jackson Boxer, Brunswick House, Orasay
Isaac McHale, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith, The Clove Club, Luca, Two Lights
Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, Noble Rot
Suzanne and Anna Barfoot, Sweetings
Peter Davies, WMT
Robert Wilson, The Bleeding Heart
Mathew Carver, Cheesetruck
Oliver Milburn, Tom Mullion, Tim Steel, Kitty Fisher’s and Cora Pearl
Richard Nottage, Sofitel St James
Anthony Demetre, Wild Honey St James
Lawrence Hartley, Tim Healy, Joe Allen’s
Ed Thaw, Leroy
Sam Bompas, Bompas & Parr
Alistair Smith, Editor, The Stage
Andy Lewis-Pratt, Market Halls
Josh Katz, Berber & Co, and many more.