Make business lunches exempt from restrictions, demands Boisdale boss

London restaurant group Boisdale has called for business lunches to be exempt from the capital’s new Tier 2 restrictions.

The new restrictions, which will come into effect at midnight, mean a ban on household mixing indoors with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. 

Read more: London lockdown: Will the City’s small businesses survive new restrictions?

But the current guidance allows exemptions for work with no limit on the group size when meeting or gathering for purposes. 

“I can’t see how you could say restaurants aren’t a workplace if you’re meeting for work”, managing director Ranald Macdonald tells City A.M. 

In a letter to Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, and Westminster Council, the Boisdale boss said: “Restaurants are the work place when workers meet while being paid during working hours to discuss business. Most workplaces are unlikely to be as health and safety conscious as restaurants. Certainly no more so.” 

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The hospitality sector has warned that a Tier 2 lockdown will be the “death knell” for the already struggling industry. 

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Macdonald warned that without an exemption for restaurants the restaurant group will have to lay off a number of staff. “All our lunch trade is business… We will go from making a loss whilst trading to haemorrhaging money.” 

Boisdale, which owns restaurants in Mayfair, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf and Belgravia, has said it will still allow business meetings for the time being. 

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“We are going to ask customers booking at lunch time if they are either from a single household or if it is a business lunch”, Macdonald said.“We determine from the guideline that they’re meeting for work purposes, so the limit on numbers should not apply.” 

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And in a clear indication of the devastating effect on the City’s restaurants and pubs, Macdonald tells City A.M. Boisdale will be forced to close for lunch if business meetings are explicitly banned. 

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