‘We’re on our knees’ Ottolenghi begs Boris to shut down London – ‘Better off’ in Tier 3

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London must be placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in order to save businesses, chef and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi has warned. Many businesses, particularly pubs and restaurants, are desperate to be closed on the orders of Boris Johnson as this is the only way  they would be eligible for the full range of Treasury grants and wage subsidies. Mr Ottolenghi told the BBC’s Today show that the capital’s recent Tier 2 placement was “ludicrous” as it was “depriving” businesses, but without any support.

He told Radio 4: “In all honesty, it’s terrible, we’re on our knees now.

“After having had the rule of six and the 10pm curfew, now we’ve got the single household rule that came with the Tier 2 set of regulations. We just don’t have customers coming through the door.

“If we compare to a year ago with 100 percent, only last week, before Tier 2  regulations came about, we were at 50 percent. Now we’re at 10 percent. This is just not a viable place for a restaurant to be in.

“I’m sick of worry for the jobs for my staff and staff of other restaurants and hospitality businesses across the land that are stuck in this cursed Tier 2 category, which deprives us of oxygen but doesn’t give us any support. It’s ludicrous.”

Mr Ottolenghi claimed it would be “better off” to actually be ordered to close by the Government.

He said: “Ironically, I’m kind of begging to be shut down, I can’t believe I’m saying that.

“But it is the sad reality that had we been shut down and not been put into this miserable slow death then at least we know we’d get some kind of support.

“Some kind of furlough for our staff as the job support scheme kicks in if you are forced to shut down by the Government.”

More to follow…

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