West End bar and restaurant operators have warned that they will not survive the winter after the “horrendous” first weekend of the capital’s tier 2 restrictions triggered tens of thousands of cancellations.

The normally heaving streets of central London were left desolate on Saturday and Sunday following the imposition of tough new laws which restrict multiple households meeting indoors, and resulted in up to 75% of bookings being scrapped, the Evening Standard reports.

Police licensing officers said restaurants and bars may have to start asking for “photographic identification with names and addresses” to prevent abuse of the tier 2 laws.

Des Gunewardena, CEO of D&D London, which includes venues such as Le Pont de la Tour and Quaglino’s, said: “Friday was a strong day with everybody out for dinner before Tier 2 kicked in. But Saturday was a disaster for our big West End restaurants: Quaglino’s and 100 Wardour Street both dropped 50 per cent compared with last Saturday.

“These restaurants are massively reliant on their weekend business with weekdays being quiet without office workers and tourists, and theatres closed. It is a real kick in the teeth for the West End. And very upsetting given that the Government through PHE keeps putting out its statistics every day saying Covid is mainly in schools ,universities and care homes, not in restaurants.

“Absolutely zero evidence has been put forward to justify the 10pm curfew and zero evidence put forward for Tier 2 restrictions… Restaurants with outside terraces thankfully did a bit better, down only 10 to 15 per cent.”

Rob Pitcher, CEO of Revolution Bars, which has five London sites, said: “On Saturday the sales in our London bars dropped 60 per cent compared to the previous week, meaning that they were down 80 per cent compared to the same Saturday last year. London is now our worst affected area in England, outside of Liverpool.”

Thomas Kidd, MD of Adventure Bars, which includes Covent Garden’s The Escapologist, said: “It’s extremely challenging, there’s no way any bar or restaurant in Tier 2 can possibly be making money now, it’s completely f**ked.”

He added: “Every time there’s another level of complexity added with a new ruling we then have to enforce them and we have a spike in conflict situations that we are having to manage. So we’ve got staff members being threatened physically and verbally because they’re trying to enforce this legislation.”

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “It’s been horrendous, it has decimated the sector. We are going to see some catastrophic results in terms of businesses deciding to close. It’s so shortsighted, people are trying to stay open and survive but the tier 2 mechanism means a pretty much systematic closure of the sector. But insurance isn’t triggered because businesses are not being told by the Government to close.”

Central London appeared to have been hit far harder than suburban neighbourhoods where family and household groups are more likely to make up the majority of diners.