Central London pubs to be hit hard by work from home guidance

A number of central London pubs stand to lose out big from the imminent new table service only rule and the revised working from home guidance, bosses have warned.

Pubs and restaurants in England will have to start closing at 10pm from Thursday and firms will be restricted to offering table service only, as part of government efforts to tackle a rise in coronavirus cases.

In a further blow, people have been told to work from home if they can. Pubs in the West End and City are already struggling since reopening from lockdown, with few tourists and office workers in town.

Pub giant Greene King’s boss Nick Mackenzie said: “Alongside losing a vital trading period the table-service-only rule will hit drinking pubs that rely on outside standing areas for customers, which is one of the great attractions of a central London pub.”

He added that his firm had been planning to reopen some more venues in the capital in the coming weeks, “but this is now in doubt”.

Mackenzie said the company is “particularly” concerned about the new guidance that people should work from home if they can: “It will play a big part in stunting the city’s wider economic recovery.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said sites in London “will perhaps feel it [the new rules] the hardest”.

McClarkin said: “The table service rule will also disproportionately affect London pubs who in many cases have much smaller usable spaces. A return to advising people to work from home will see the city remain quieter and London pubs continuing to struggle.”