adiq Khan said on Wednesday he is “touching every piece of wood I can see” that Plan B restrictions will be lifted in two weeks’ time.
The Mayor told the Standard that he was well aware of the damage caused by the work-from-home advice issued last month to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. The absence of commuters has left central London deserted. Many West End restaurants have not reopened so far in January due to the slump in trade.
The Plan B measures are scheduled to be reviewed on January 26. Mr Khan said: “I can’t predict what the numbers will be in two weeks’ time, but I’m touching every piece of wood I can see hoping that the work-from-home rule goes. Not simply because it’s crucial to our economy in London, but I’ve seen the downside of working from home in terms of mentoring new people, young people, but also the lack of creativity that’s possible virtually.”
Latest research from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry show a deterioration in confidence among the capital’s business leaders even before the Plan B measures fully kicked in. The proportion that expect economic prospects to worsen over the next 12 months rose from 22 per cent in the third quarter of the year to 38 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Figures from online staff management system S4Labour show London restaurant, bar and pub sales fell 36 per cent in the first week of January, with a 30 per cent decline for the country as a whole.