The Ritz closed 'until further notice' after staff asked to self-isolate

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

The Ritz restaurant was forced to close temporarily 'until further notice' last week. the daily mail reports that staff were required to self-isolate by the NHS Test-and-Trace App.

The famed London restaurant, headed by executive chef John Williams MBE and newly-promoted head chef and Roux scholar, Spencer Metzger, is said to have closed its doors just one day after restrictions on restaurants were legally lifted on July 19th.

Guests received an email apologising profusely for the closure, which it stated had occurred due to "unforeseen circumstances," offering to extend meal vouchers for guests until January 2022. Reservation slots are available on the restaurant's website for August and September.

The news comes as hospitality business owners across the UK renew calls for a revision of the NHS Test and Trace model as the sector is burdened by the high cost of the current self-isolation rules, leading many to close temporarily at short notice. 

The term 'pingdemic' was coined to describe the phenomenon, and is thought to be disproportionately affecting the hospitality industry, as the current rules mandate that anyone having been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for ten days - at the risk of being fined £1,000 for failing to do so.

According to UKHospitality, up to one in five hospitality workers is currently affected and the proportion could rise to see a third of those employed in the sector having to self-isolate. 

The rules are set to change on August 16th, after which fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

A government exemption list was issued last week due to vast swathes of the economy being crippled by the rules, including businesses involved in food production and supply, but hospitality doesn't fall under any of the except sectors, meaning more temporary closures are likely in the coming weeks and months.

The Ritz has yet to respond to a request for comment from The Staff Canteen but we will update this article as and when it does.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 26th July 2021

The Ritz closed 'until further notice' after staff asked to self-isolate