Parts of London’s West End were effectively in lockdown today as theatre shows were suspended and pubs and restaurant suffered a wave of cancellations triggered by mounting fears over the new Covid variant sweeping the capital. 

Big-budget productions from The Lion King at the Lyceum to Life of Pi at Wyndham’s Theatre halted performances due to virus outbreaks among their cast and crew – a decision which is costing producers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of A Comedy Of Errors at the Barbican and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in Wembley were also cancelled, while the National Theatre postponed a preview of Hex after a lead actor caught the virus.

Other shows that were suspended included The Rhythmics in Southwark Playhouse and Force Majeure, both at Donmar Warehouse. Fair Play was also at the Bush Theatre. Moulin Rouge, Piccadilly Theater also had shows suspended but it has been restarted.

Restaurants and pubs in the West End have been left ‘devastated’ by people cancelling bookings due to fears over the spread of the so-called ‘Omicron’ variant, which has become the dominant Covid strain in London.

Since January when strict curbs were put in place, the capital’s Covid rate has risen to its highest point in five years. It rose from 347 cases to 537 per 100,000 to reach 55 percent in just two weeks. Hospitalisations increased by 50% over that time, with an average of 90 to 140 admissions per day. Although death rates are stable, it may take as long as a month before fatalities start to rise due to how long it takes for someone to become seriously ill.

Sadiq Khan’s spokesman suggested the Mayor of London would back local restrictions, saying it was better to ‘act now’ rather than wait for the virus to spiral out of control.

But Tory representatives urged Government ministers to rely on ‘strong vaccine protection’ and ramp up Boris Johnson’s booster drive instead. 

Almost every one of the 90 restaurants in the area have suffered cancellations in the past week with bookings down by at least 20 per cent in what should be their busiest time of the year – and they fear the introduction of controversial vaccine passports will spell the end for many businesses in the hospitality industry.

A manager at a pub in Covent Garden claimed that every booking made for Christmas parties in their private rooms was cancelled while 100 people cancelled in one day at a nearby restaurant.

West End shopper numbers are still 30 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels, with business group New West End Company blaming the ‘hammer blow’ of Government orders to work from home returning this week.

UK Hospitality reported that many venues were limiting the menus of their restaurants and closing at slower times in recent months. Omicron has also caused closures.

The trade body’s chief executive Kate Nicholls told MailOnline today: ‘Venues in Central London were already suffering from staff shortages, prior to the Omicron variant. The uncertainty is making it difficult for consumers to trust the market and have already caused cancellations at a high rate. All across the country, restaurants were having to limit their trading hours and menus due to shortages of labour and supply chains.

‘This is the time of year when some venues make up to 25 per cent – sometimes more – of their annual revenue which carries them through the fallow months of January, February and March.

‘In no other public spaces has so much time, money and effort been invested to safeguard the wellbeing of staff and customers – hospitality venues are certainly the safest places in which to celebrate the festive period with family and friends.’

The Lion King

The Lion King

The Lion King is one of London’s most beloved musicals. It is currently in its 21st season at the Lyceum. (Pictured today) The Lion King stated that today’s performances were cancelled due to Covid-enforced absences among our cast and crew.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's The Comedy of Errors at the Barbican in London has had to cancel a raft of shows

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors show at London’s Barbican has had to cancel several shows

Cases of the Omicron variant in England. Areas that had picked up the mutant strain over this fortnight are coloured orange

This map shows areas where the Omicron variant has been detected in England. The orange colour means there are only a few cases, while red and black suggests indicates there are more cases. Yellow means there are no cases

Below are maps showing areas where Omicron Covid variants have been detected in England during the weeks from November 20 (left) to December 4. (right). Yellow is not used to indicate areas in which the variant has been found. This shows that the variant has been detected by more than one authority. It has also been shown that areas of darker colour have seen more cases.

The above graph shows the seven-day average for hospital admissions in different regions of England. It reveals that in London (orange) there has been a steady increase

This graph displays the average seven-day hospital admissions for different parts of England. This graph shows that there was a steady rise in hospital admissions in London (orange). 

This graph shows the Covid infection rate per 100,000 people in England's regions. It also shows there has been a rapid uptick in London (red) while cases remain largely flat in other regions

The graph below shows the Covid incidence rate for each 100,000 inhabitants in England. This graph also indicates that cases have increased rapidly in London (red), while they remain flat elsewhere in England.

The above graph shows how Omicron cases are rising across England's regions. PCRs search for three specific genes to tell whether someone has Covid, but with Omicron one of the genes is so mutated - the S-gene - that it does not show up with the tests. Cases with this gene missing are coloured purple above, with the graph showing their numbers quickly increasing

Below is a graph showing how Omicron cases in England are increasing across all regions. Three genes are searched by PCRs to determine whether someone has Covid. But Omicron’s one mutation – the S gene – does not appear in the tests. This graph displays the increasing number of cases with missing this gene.

Sadiq Khan’s spokesman suggested the Mayor of London would back local restrictions, saying it was better to ‘act now’ rather than wait for the virus to spiral out of control

Sadiq Khan’s spokesman suggested the Mayor of London would back local restrictions, saying it was better to ‘act now’ rather than wait for the virus to spiral out of control

London’s theatre cancels performance 

The Lion KingThe Covid-enforced absences in our crew and cast have caused performances of the musical’s hit musical to be cancelled today and tomorrow. Producers plan to resume productions on Thursday. They apologized for the inconvenience and expressed regret.

Pi’s LifeThis show was only open for one week. It had to be cancelled today and last Thursday. Production claimed that there had been a number of cases of Covid-19 within the company. 

The Comedy of ErrorsDue to Covid-19 cases in the company, the Royal Shakespeare Company has had to cancel its show at The Barbican in London.

Hex: The National Theatre cancelled last night’s preview of its Christmas show Hex and then postponed its press night from tomorrow to December 21. 

A Curious Instance of a Dog at Night: The National show, which is currently playing at the Wembley Park Theatre before going on tour next month, has also had to cancel performances including today’s matinee and shows tomorrow and on Thursday.

The RhythmicsYou are here: Musical at Southwark Playhouse had to cancel all shows due to positive Covid-19 case within the company. Last show: December 11, and was to be held until January 8.

Force Majeure: Force Majeure was cancelled by the Donmar Warehouse due to an alleged case of Covid-19 in the company.

Fair PlayBush Theatre cancels Fair Play last night due to ‘Covid isolating requirements’

Moulin RougeAfter a 10-day break for Covid-related reasons, the show at Piccadilly Theatre resumed its performances Monday.

The Lion King is London’s best-loved musical and it is currently in its 21st season at the Lyceum. It stated that today’s performances were cancelled due to ‘Covid-enforced absents’ within our cast or crew.

Producers plan to resume the show on Thursday. Producers stated that they would contact those who were due to go to today’s or tomorrow’s shows by email. These emails will contain information about how to cancel tickets or get credit or refund tickets. 

They said that they were sorry for the inconvenience caused and expressed their regret. Your continued support is appreciated. It is our pleasure to welcome you back to the show at a future time.

The new Life of Pi show, which opened only last Thursday, was forced to cancel its performances today and tomorrow.

A production company recently extended the booking period to 29 May 2022 and released 70,000 additional tickets.

Producers of the show said that despite the strong measures they took, there were several instances where Covid was found in the company. Performances had to be cancelled up until Monday, December 13.

The point at which the purchase was made will contact audiences. Wyndham’s Theatre will be welcoming back people starting tomorrow, December 15, (tomorrow).

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors performance at The Barbican, London was cancelled due to Covid-19.

RSC spokesperson said that the RSC could not continue to rehearse understudies for alternative shows due to the complex of circumstances. It is our priority to keep everyone safe and we cancel performances only when necessary.

The National Theatre’s The Curious Instance of the Dog in Night-Time is being performed at the Wembley Park Theatre. Next month it will go on tour.

Twitter message from the show: A spokesperson for the show said that despite safety measures, some members of the #CuriousIncident company at @troubadourWPark tested positive for COVID.

“We regrettably had to cancel the matinee performances today at 2pm on Wednesday 15 and 14 December, at 7pm, and at 2 and 7pm on Thursday 16 and 17 December, respectively.

The point of sale will contact ticket holders to let them rebook for their performance.

The Rhythmics musical at Southwark Playhouse was another show that had to be cancelled today. One spokesperson said, “Hi guys. The Rhythmics’ remaining run has been cancelled due to Covid-19 positive cases in the company.

“Confirmed positive cases led to several performance cancellations and the company had its press night delayed twice. This has made uncertain the future of the limited-run production.

Theatre cancellations

Theatre cancellations

According to The Donmar Warehouse, Force Majeure was cancelled last night due to the presence of Covid-19. The National Theatre’s The Curious Instance of the Dog in Night-Time also had to be cancelled.

Theatre cancellations

Theatre cancellations

The Rhythmicsat Southwark Playhouse was forced to cancel any remaining shows ‘due a positive Covid-19 situation within the company. Bush Theatre cancelled Fair Play’s last night performance due to Covid isolation.

Life of Pi at Wyndham's Theatre (pictured today) has halted performances due to Covid-19 cases within their cast and crew

Life of Pi (pictured today at Wyndham’s Theatre) was halted due to Covid-19 issues within the cast and crew.

“The Covid-19 isolation requirements and this uncertainty have meant that performances must cease. The show’s final performance was on December 11.

At Tutton's restaurant in the West End, bookings are down by up to 20%. Manager Daniel Baldachino said he has seen bookings for 30 people slashed to just 13 people turning up

Bookings at Tutton’s West End restaurant are dropping by as much as 20% Daniel Baldachino, the manager of Tutton’s West End restaurant said that he saw bookings for up to 30 people drop down to 13 people.

Last night, the Donmar Warehouse cancelled Force Majeure because of a “suspected Case of Covid-19 in the company”. Bush Theatre also had to cancel Fair Play last night due to Covid isolation requirements’. 

Moulin rouge at the Piccadilly Theatre resumed performance on Monday, following a ten day pause due to Covid-related issues.

Last night, the National Theatre cancelled its preview for Hex Christmas Show and postponed their press night until December 21.

BBC News reported that Rufus Norris was the artistic director. He wrote a letter to critics saying: “You will no doubt have noticed the impact Covid has had on productions in the industry (none has escaped completely) but Hex’s impact has been significant with several employees, one of which being hospitalized during the preview and technical periods.

Emma Prior, the manager at Nags Head in Covent Garden said that every booking made for Christmas parties in their private rooms was cancelled.

Restaurant managers have had to deal with mass cancellations, while some reservations have nearly dried up during the Christmas season. 

Street Burger Gordon Ramsay had 40 customers cancelling their weekend lunch reservations, while 60 people called to cancel evening reservations.

David Nowak, manager of Covid said that multiple cancellations were caused by fear over the Covid variant. He described them as “devastating.”

“Most people cancel through the website. We don’t understand why, but we fear the new version. It should be the busiest season of the year but is currently the most quiet.

With its mix of restaurants and shops, Covent Garden is a popular tourist destination in London. It attracts up to 44 million visitors each year.  

A very quiet London Euston train station this morning as people continue to follow Government advice to work from home

This morning, the London Euston station was quiet as many people continued to follow government advice and work remotely.

A quiet Piccadilly line train carriage on the London Underground today during the morning rush hour

A tranquil Piccadilly Line train carriage riding on the London Underground during today’s morning rush hour

People pass through London Waterloo train station during the morning rush-hour today amid the work from home guidance

London Waterloo Train Station is where people go during morning rush-hour, today.

Backbenchers in the Tory Party plan to revolt against plans for vaccine passports

Boris Johnson will face the greatest revolt against him today when a third Tory backbenchers rebel against Plan B’s vaccine passport measures.

As many as 79 Conservative MPs – equivalent to the Government’s working majority – are ready to vote against plans that will mean the NHS Covid pass is required for entry at larger venues.

Downing Street suggests that hospitals could have to shut down without the use of vaccine passports. Critical MPs say the “illiberal”, set to take effect from tomorrow, won’t work.

Numerous ministerial assistants are under resignation watch. Although such a massive rebellion would be devastating for the Prime Minister it is unlikely that he will suffer an embarrassing defeat, as Labour claims it will back these measures.

Yesterday, one Tory MP Marcus Fysh provoked a row after comparing the way they were introduced to Nazi Germany. He said to the BBC, “This isn’t Nazi Germany.” “It’s just the thin end of an autoritarian wedge, and we’ll resist it.”

His remarks were rejected by the British Jewish Board of Deputies.

Due to travel restrictions, restaurants and stores have experienced a significant drop in visitors from 2021. 

Many people had hoped that the lifting of the travel ban and the relaxation of restrictions last July would bring in more tourists. However, there were increased fears about the Omicron variant making it difficult to be comfortable being around other tourist.

Covent Garden has a number of boards that list the names and addresses for 39 restaurants and cafes. They are often crowded with tourists and office workers all year.

Evenings are a busy time for many, with thousands flocking to the theatre shows. Street Burger was opened by Mr Nowack for only 90 minutes. He welcomed the first three customers who were looking to book a place.

Another restaurant saw its bookings decline by 20%, and the staff claimed that vaccine passports would “kill off” their industry.

‘We’re fortunate in that we have a lot people who pop in. However, if the vaccine passport’ is introduced, it will stop the trade. Miss Prior from the Nag’s Head said, ‘We’re very lucky.

‘Since lockdown has been lifted, business has bounced back tremendously and we don’t want anything to stop people from coming into our offices. According to me, half the London population has not had their vaccines administered. This would have a devastating effect on us.

Francesco Fais, the manager of Joe Allen, said that he has seen an increasing number of cancellations at his restaurant. Joe Allen is a favorite haunt among celebrities. “We’re 20% below what we ought to be this time of year,” he stated.

People are calling to cancel all the time. We had 65 lunch covers today, and now it’s down to 45. Since the news of the new variant was first reported, it’s been quite devastating. 

‘Additionally my staff haven’t been able to obtain lateral flow testing so they can’t get in. It isn’t good for staff numbers, so it’s not all bad.

Nearby Tutton’s Restaurant has a drop in bookings of up to 20%. Many corporate events scheduled for the next two week have been cancelled.

Daniel Baldachino, manager of the company said that he’s seen 30-person bookings reduced to only 13 people. “We usually have two to three people who show up for a booking that has eight persons.

20 percent of our corporate Christmas party bookings have been cancelled. Though people who put down deposits usually show up, not all of the participants will.



The Omicron Covid variant spreading at a ferocious pace in the UK has become dominant in London barely two weeks after it was first detected, health chiefs revealed today

 The Omicron Covid variant spreading at a ferocious pace in the UK has become dominant in London barely two weeks after it was first detected, health chiefs revealed today

Omicron is now DOMINANT in London, as London’s hospital admissions rose 50% from the first super-mutant version.

Today, Omicron Covid has been found in London and is now the dominant Omicron Covid strain. This was just two weeks after its first detection.

Kevin Fenton is the director of capital public health. He said that data suggests the super-strain may be responsible for at least 1 in 2 new infections within the capital, an increase from the 44 percent he reported yesterday.

After South Africa raised concerns on November 24, London became the nation’s main transport hub. London was quickly made England’s Omicron epicenter. The idea is believed to be seeded by British travellers who flew into London.

Capital’s Covid rate, which has risen to 55 percent in the past fortnight since January 2001 when strict curbs were put in place, rose from 347 cases to 537 per 100,000.

Hospitalisations have increased 50% over that time, with an average of 90-140 admissions per day. While death is still low, fatalities can rise up to one month after a serious illness.

Another restaurant manager stated that they have seen an increase in cancellations since the Premier Minister’s weekend TV speech.

According to the Manager of an Italian chain restaurant, who requested anonymity, “We knew that this would happen” when people were instructed to work at home.

“People are more at risk than going to work, so why should they choose to sit in packed restaurants and be exposed to the risk of contracting the disease? It is going to be necessary for the Government to support hospitality. It is being left to our own devices.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at New West End Company, said: ‘Whilst the safety of the public remains our top priority, we are extremely concerned about the long-term survival of many of the retail and hospitality businesses in our district. 

“After almost two years of interruption trading and rising costs many West End businesses are now in dire need of cash flow support. 

“Retail and Hospitality is Britain’s largest employer of private workers. It is crucial that the Government now concentrates on ways it can support businesses and match restrictions. 

“We ask the government to consider temporary measures that will ease cash flow pressures, including reducing VAT payments and lowering business rates. There must be a clear way out of Plan B to get back on track.

London Underground users have dropped by over 25% since the beginning of the week. This is because Britons are switching back to working remotely and avoiding the workplace.

One million Tube passengers were able to enter or leave the Tube networks between 10am and noon this morning. That’s a decrease of 26% compared with Tuesday, but less than half (45%) of the pre-pandemic normal level.

Transport for London said that the bus use in London fell to 1.16million Oyster cards or contactless taps. This was a decrease of 8 percent from last week, but it is still 70% higher than pre-Covid. 

There is a difference between buses and Tubes partly because children use the buses more frequently than they do for school. 

Although the TfL network had roughly the same number of users as yesterday, today’s drop in traffic was more significant because Mondays tend to be quieter than usual since people are working from home. 

TfL (the operator of the Capital’s Tubes and Buses) yesterday reported a 18% reduction in Tube trips up to 10 AM, and a 6 percent drop in bus use.  

Yesterday’s data shows that the week-on–week drop in Tubes was just 12 percent and buses 2 percent, respectively. This is mainly because leisure travel hasn’t fallen as fast as commuters. 

The biggest drop in transport traffic was seen in London. There were 318,400 entries and exits last week, while there were 415,300 this week. TfL witnessed nearly 541,000 entrances and exits from Tube stations linking specifically to shopping destinations yesterday, as opposed to 581,008 entry and exits in the same time last week.

Meanwhile the congestion level reported by TomTom in the capital between 7am and 8am today was 48 per cent – the lowest for that period on a Tuesday since before the summer holidays, when half-term is excluded.