Footfall in London’s west end was up by more than 5 percent over the past week, and up 14 percent on Saturday and Sunday compared to the previous weekend.
But businesses have called for extended Sunday training hours to help the numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.
Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive at New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair said: “The removal of restrictions has proved a big hit for the West End, with visitors safely returning to not only enjoy the many retailers and restaurants in the sunshine, but to make the most of the thriving nightlife that is once again open for business.
“It has been a true delight to see our world-famous theatres welcoming back audiences that have been patiently waiting for the stage doors to reopen, revitalising a core element of the West End’s renowned offer. We remain optimistic and expect footfall numbers to continue to rise. It has been a relief to see that the perseverance shown by businesses in the district during this difficult time is beginning to pay off.
“However, despite a marked improvement, footfall has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels, and will not for some time.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure the West End remains both safe and inviting for visitors, but we need more government support in the form of extended Sunday trading hours and fundamental business rates reform in order to allow retailers, restaurants and bars the opportunity to thrive once again.
“This will be vital as we work towards getting back to full capacity – an achievable goal, but one that will require support to realise.”