A new bout of enforced Working From Home strikes an awful blow to the heart of London.
Just as employers have spent fortunes getting staff back to the office safely, the Government is veering back to the blunt instrument of WFH.
Such draconian measures may partly stem the escalation of the pandemic, but at what cost in jobs, poverty and the cultural lifeblood of our cities?
Whitbread provides an answer: 6000 job losses across its pubs and hotels as people stay in and curb business trips.
Retailers give another: plunging footfall from the lack of office workers is forcing them to lay off staff in droves.
The restaurants, hotels and theatres that make London an exciting place to be, which will eventually help bring the tourists back, are being strangled.
The suburbs may be faring better but your average big-spending American tourist doesn’t come to the UK to visit Barnes.
At Boris Johnson’s press conference tonight, the ligature will be tightened to choking point. After weeks of ordering us back to the office, it will be “work from home if you can.”
Rishi Sunak knows more lockdowns will be disastrous for the economy. He has urged the PM to hold back. But, while the Chancellor won a compromise on shutting pubs and restaurants, it seems that he has lost the argument on WFH.
Perhaps this move will prevent some of the spread of the virus, but for how long can we put up with it? Surely we don’t want to freeze our capital until a vaccine (possibly) emerges next spring.