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Business Leader: London shops should stay open until 11 pm

A prominent London business leader said that stores at West End should allow staying open until 11 pm after the end of lockdown to “save Christmas”.

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A prominent London business leader said that stores at West End should allow staying open until 11 pm after the end of lockdown to “save Christmas”. Chief executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, Ros Morgan, warned radical measures required in order to persuade shoppers back in significant numbers after the second national lockdown ends on December 2.

London Business Leader gives ddvice

In a statement the businesswoman declared: “Trading hours need to be extended as long as possible – certainly up to 11 pm. That will increase the period of time retailers can make money but also reinforces the confidence that you can shop safely because stores are less likely to crowded. It would be very helpful if it could include Sundays. We have been asking for longer Sunday trading hours in the run up to Christmas for a long time and, if there was ever a time do it, it’s now.”

Generally, stores in the West End stay open later before Christmas Day beyond 10 pm. The request comes as the second week of the lockdown showed the number of people in the West End has dropped to levels not seen since April.

Visitors in the Heart of London area were down 26 percent on the previous weekend and 90 percent on the equivalent day last year according to stats revealed last Saturday. During the summer, it rose to around 50 percent before the new wave of restrictions were implemented at the end of September as Covid cases began to rise again.

Since then, the West End has had to deal with a series of suffocating restrictions and at present a second lockdown which started in November.

Chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Richard Burge, wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to say: “A weekly review of London’s status is necessary to ensure economic activity resumes as quickly and safely as possible. In the absence of evidence underpinning its effectiveness and considering its detrimental impact, the 10 pm curfew for the hospitality and leisure sectors should also be lifted. While it is right to be optimistic about prospective improvements next year, we are approaching one of the most important tradings periods for business and optimism by itself is simply not enough. It makes little sense to hold back London’s ability to play its essential role if the data indicates it can resume activity, with safety measures in place.”

Morgan also demanded that the Mayor launches a tourism campaign re-establish London as a top travel destination in 2021 as it needs more promotion than other competitors such as Paris, Berlin, and Singapore.

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