D&D London has temporarily closed all of its UK restaurants as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the hospitality sector.
The company made the decision last night in the wake of Boris Johnson’s statement on Monday advising Londoners not to visit pubs, bars and restaurants in order to reduce the spread of the disease.
All of the chain’s 24 outlets shut at the close of business last night. It did not say when it expects to open them again. The company runs restaurants such as Bluebird London, Coq D’Argent and the German Gymnasium.
Des Gunewardena, chairman and CEO of D&D London, said: “We fully understand the need to play our part in defeating the spread of coronavirus and the safety of our staff and customers is of course of paramount importance. And we have had to similarly close our restaurants in New York and Paris.
“Nevertheless it is a desperately sad day for us and for other UK restaurants who also face closure. Our number one priority now is to work closely with government bodies to ensure that the welfare of our staff and their families is managed through this period of uncertainty. We hope the government steps up to the challenge.”
Yesterday the government announced a £330 billion finance package to support businesses through the turbulence, but it is unlikely to prevent hospitality firms from having to go to the extreme measure of temporarily or permanently closing sites.
Restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King have also confirmed they will be closing all their London restaurants this afternoon.
The owners of The Delaunay said they had been left in an “invidious” situation following Boris Johnson’s announcement.
“We will continue to pay staff for the foreseeable future and are working closely with our landlords and other stakeholders to protect both the staff and the company.”
They said they aim to welcome back customers “as soon as possible”.