Small businesses in Kingston are facing substantial financial losses after Tier 2 restrictions came into force in London, last Saturday.
With the new restrictions, Londoners are no longer allowed to meet people outside their household, or support bubble, in any indoor spaces (homes or public places).
The rule of six continues to apply to outdoor meetings and in addition to this, people are encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make and where possible, choosing to walk or cycle instead.
For the hospitality sector, the new restrictions mean less business.
Mouayad Aziz, manager of Spuds, a local restaurant near Kingston Station, said: “We are definitely going to have less business.
“We will lose customers because we used to have many people coming in groups, and now we only have individuals. We are 30 per cent down so far.”
Many other businesses in the area have found themselves in the same situation.
Peter Hasha, manager at Coffee Break, said that for his business the new Tier 2 rules meant “fewer customers” and that the end of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means he may have to lay off some employees.
Job Support Scheme
The end of the Job Retention Scheme means that many of the people who have been on furlough until now may face redundancy.
But the furlough scheme will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, which will run for six months from the beginning of November, and all Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are eligible.
It is similar to the furlough scheme in the sense that the government will top up employees’ wages, but employees will work at least one-third of their usual working hours and their employers will pay full wages for the hours of work.
The government will then top up their salary by paying another third of their wages.
Increasing infection rates
According to the latest government figures, released on October 14, infection rates are higher in the south and south-west of the City.
The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames is the third highest with 1,295 confirmed cases and infection rate of 729.5.
Such figures may soon force London to enforce Tier 3 restrictions, which for local business would mean even more financial loss, as they would be forced to move to a take-away only service.
For more information on support for businesses, visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support .