The extravagant volcanic metaphor of the jobs market as a wrathful Vesuvius, or Mount St Helens, came from the gastropreneur Richard Caring, the owner of Annabel’s, the Ivy and pretty much every second restaurant in Mayfair, when he was speaking to a Sunday newspaper — he had the two-metre rule and the lack of government clarity in his sights. “There are estimates saying we could have up to five million unemployed. It’s not going to be five million — it’s going to be more. I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. The government is killing the country right now and the hospitality industry is the frontline disaster.”
He is not the first person to warn of the impending Götterdämmerung of the restaurant business; Rocco Forte has been equally vocal. Then on Monday came news that proved the truth of Stalin’s observation that one death is a tragedy, but a million merely a statistic: it was announced that Le Caprice on Arlington Street in London — part of Caring’s empire — would not be reopening.