Chef Marcus Wareing says restaurants are in 'danger' due to coronavirus

22 May 2020, 15:47

Chef Marcus Wareing said the hospitality industry could be the last to open
Chef Marcus Wareing said the hospitality industry could be the last to open. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing fears restaurants may not survive the economic impact of the coronavirus shutdown.

The Michelin-starred chef revealed his concerns over the future of the hospitality industry.

Speaking to LBC News' Jim Diamond, Mr Wareing said: "It was one of the first industries to be closed and it will be one of the last to reopen.

"There are so many variables to how to reopen the hospitality industry... we just need clear guidelines to be honest with you."

Mr Diamond asked whether the two-metre distancing rule was a "headache" for the industry.

He referred to the World Health Organisation's recommendation of only only keeping a 1m distance and South Korea using the same distance as it helps industries operate more efficiently.

Mr Wareing said: "Going from two metres to one metre, what's next? No metres?

"The biggest concern for me is yes you can use that front of house, but the kitchen is my major concern.

"I've spoken to lots of chefs over the past few months and we are struggling to come up with a way in which people can work safely and still keep that distance.

"To be honest, it is not possible. And I think this is where the Government needs to take into consideration whether it is the right thing to do to put people in a dangerous place - and the kitchen is a dangerous place - with all these rules in place.

"As a restauranter and a chef, I think it is a very dangerous thing to do."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Mr Wareing was asked whether he will be able to reopen his restaurants in London.

He replied: "I don't know, is the answer to that.

"I'd prefer not to open them in these circumstances as customer confidence is rock bottom.

"Yes it's fine saying people are enjoying the sun and getting out more. But this is about the long journey.

"While the sun's shining, it's OK, when we get further along down the line things get a little bit trickier.

"No one knows how many people are going to be coming back through the doors of our restaurants.

"So we all have this worry, 'what if we're being charged full rent when we reopen our restaurants'? Because the maths tells you it doesn't work.

"How can you earn the money if you are restricted in how many people can sit in your restaurant due to social distancing?

"The industry is in a very dangerous position."