Zdenka Trutzova says 90% of customers at her London salon canceled bookings for Wednesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told office staff to work from home for as long as six months.
“The new rules have ruined everything,” said Trutzova, who owns Daniel Gentlemen’s Hairdressers near the Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace. “We don’t need social distancing because look how dead it is everywhere already.”
Businesses that had been hanging on in the City of London financial district, waiting for workers to return, now face the reality that many of their customers may not be back as long as the virus keeps spreading. A spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations forced the government to reverse its earlier demand for people to return to the office to kickstart an economy that had just emerged from the worst recession in more than a century.
Banks in the City led the way in telling staff to stay at home. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is encouraging employees to work remotely where possible, while the BBC reported that Barclays Plc, Societe Generale SA and Lloyd’s also told some staff to do their jobs from their residences.
Marco Sidoli, the owner of Chapters Deli on Bishopsgate, which sells pasta and sandwiches, was downcast. “We are in the heart of the City” and “it’s deserted,” he said. Business on Wednesday was down to 20% of what it was pre-lockdown, having recovered to 35% before Tuesday’s announcement.
“It’s at non-sustainable levels,” he said.
12:47 PM · Sep 23, 2020
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