We began the year quietly and couldn’t really understand…was it the terrible weather, the post Brexit unease or maybe our economy going through a mini recession?
I paced my bedroom early in the mornings, wrenched with the frustration. Being located bang in the centre of London, Piccadilly, the landmark real estate for global tourism, I couldn’t work it out.
It was clear that past laurels and worldwide critical praise were not bolstering us. Many were in the same boat as us, yet others were still busy. Restaurants, particularly ones based in neighborhoods, seemed to be operating with normal to strong trade. Londoners were still eating out even if it was locally. The discomforting scrutiny of what was going on only intensified my anxiety. Why was it that if other areas were doing well, we were struggling?
As the news of Coronavirus began to gain momentum early in the year, governments in East Asia and Europe began to close their borders and restrict travel. Then I realised this had probably been going on for a while, further back to before the start of the year, when consumer confidence had already diminished. After careful consideration, we faced the fact that a large proportion of our clientele are from overseas, particularly from China, Hong Kong and Italy.
By the time Coronavirus cases started to build in the UK, many European countries had already gone into lockdown, enforcing isolation and closures across non-essential businesses. My friends in Denmark, already removed from their restaurants, watched aghast as we remained open during this strange period of limbo between when the virus was spreading and when the government made a decision on the necessary measures.