Fuller's has closed most of its pubs in the City of London as chief executive Simon Emeny said "it is unviable to keep them open against the backdrop of falling customer numbers and incredibly low footfall".
He said: "Quite frankly, it's just bewildering. We are right back to where we were in March 2020 with the government keeping hospitality open, while effectively telling the public not to socialise. December should be our busiest trading period – and the revenue generated during this time is crucial for the sector."
Emeny added that the industry needed the immediate suspension of business rates and an extension of the VAT reduction to compensate for lost trade, "and ensure we can keep paying our team members while our pubs are closed, in the absence of a furlough scheme".
Many hospitality businesses are being forced to close early due to staff having to self-isolate and cancellations, with other London businesses including Soutine in St John's Wood, Swingers City, Barrafina Drury Lane, Kol in Marylebone and Evelyn's Table in Soho all closed until after Christmas.