Restaurant Owner Speaks out against Lockdown 2.0

The owner of a popular Leeds restaurant has criticised the second lockdown, saying it will severely affect the hospitality industry.

Restaurant Owner Speaks out against Lockdown 2.0 f

"something has to be done which is better than what is proposed."

Asad Arif is the co-owner of popular Leeds restaurant Mumtaz and has criticised the second lockdown as it will severely affect the hospitality industry.

He explained that many restaurants have been left “cash strapped” after having to adapt to Covid-19 restrictions like the 10 pm curfew that “destroyed the dining experience” and made people less confident to dine out.

This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown on October 31, 2020.

It came into effect on November 5 and will last until December 2, however, Michael Gove has admitted that the lockdown might be extended if needed.

Mr Arif has called for more assistance from the government.

He said: “Lockdown 2.0 cannot be called the ‘nail in the coffin’ for our restaurant or the hospitality industry as a whole.

“It’s more like a knife being plunged deeper into the heart with the assailant promising to call you the Uber to the hospital ‘but I’ll let you know if I make that call later’.

“We completely understand that we are not alone in this pandemic.

“We also understand the Government is under immense pressure from the whole nation and the hundreds of varying industries, supply chains and consumers.

“However, something has to be done which is better than what is proposed.

“The methods used by the government thus far have already created a close to impossible position for restaurants to make any profit.

“Most restaurants, including Mumtaz Leeds, were left in a position where it was more about ’survival’ and balancing the books as best as possible without letting down employees and their families.

“The table of 6 rule and limitations on weddings destroyed 40% of our revenue.”

There have been increasing calls for a grant where half of the expenses, such as rent and service charges, are paid for the industry until restrictions are lifted.

The restaurant owner told Yorkshire Evening Post:

“Now we are left cash-strapped. Money has been heavily invested to make our venue Covid safe.

“Further expense in re-arranging employee times and hours spent creating flexible rotas so staff (and their families) do not lose income due to reduced hours and inevitably less people eating out due to the circumstances.

“We are also left in a position of not knowing how (and when) to re-open.

“The employees are left in a position where they have to re-train or certainly look for other income.”

“Most of our employees have remained loyal but they have their own expenses and cannot continue to live on furlough pay.

“Credit cards and personal loans continue to build up and this naturally leads to mental stress, anxiety and takes a toll on the whole family.

“It is understandable where employees have to leave restaurants which inevitably results in further difficulties for any restaurant.

“The government have offered £3000 a month support. This does nothing to assist in our £10,000 a month rent nor the utility bills and other costs that are payable.

“The previous support was a £25,000 grant and removal of business rates. However again, what use is £25,000 when rent and expenses over £50,000 have built up over period 21 March to 4 July.

“What use is this money when staff have left to obtain more secured employment at Amazon or Tesco?

“Where does a business survive with the stress of having to recruit new staff and then incur extra expenses in safeguards and staff to remain Covid compliant?

“It is not fair nor correct to state the industry must innovate and think of moving towards ‘take out/deliveries’. Mumtaz Leeds, as an example, prides itself in the dining experience it offers.

“We cannot offer that in a plastic box.

“If the government does not assist and urgently provide confirmation of this assistance it simply will leave the majority of business owners and employees in a position where they are left in the dangerous position of purgatory.”

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”