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Hospitality bosses warn new tiered measures will ‘ruin Christmas’ for firms

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People walk past a boarded up pub in Leicester (Joe Giddens/PA)

Hospitality bosses have said that new coronavirus restrictions will “ruin” Christmas for pubs, bars and restaurants as the Prime Minister prepares to tighten measures facing the sector.

On Monday afternoon, Boris Johnson is expected to unveil new restrictions with businesses in the new Tier 3 only allowed to offer takeaways, while those in Tier 2 must serve food with any drinks.

Reports have also suggested that the Government will remove the 10pm curfew for hospitality venues when the current English national lockdown ends on December 2.

However, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality trade body, said this will not be enough to counter the damage of other restrictions on businesses.

She said: “It is helpful to allow one-hour dispersal after 10pm but the real challenge for businesses is family bubbles only and no mixed households.

“That hits revenues hardest but also threatens long-term viability.

“The safest way to let family and friends socialise at Christmas is in managed hospitality.”

The group has said that “around 94%” of hospitality business are unviable, as it restricts companies to delivery and takeaway operations.

“This is effectively a lockdown for businesses in Tier 3 and further purgatory for those facing even tighter restrictions in Tier 2,” Ms Nicholls said.

“Rather than saving Christmas, these damaging measures will ruin it for hospitality businesses and their customers.”

According to the real estate adviser Altus Group, in England, before the start of the national lockdown on November 5, 7,440 pubs and 4,010 restaurants were in Tier 3 areas with a further 12,119 pubs in Tier 2.

Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and managing director of The Warehouse Project, also heavily criticised the measure.

He said: “Today’s announcements will spell the end of the traditional British pub as we know it and will have a devastating impact on communities.

“These places are the lifeblood of communities.

“A place to let off steam, to share wins and tragedies.

“To kill these vital social spaces with these hardline measures, backed by little scientific evidence, will be a devastating blow to the very fabric of British culture.”

Nik Antona, national chairman at the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: “Publicans across the country will be angry this morning, and they have every right to be.

“Once again, the hospitality sector is being singled out for further restrictions without evidence.

“This is a kick in the teeth to the vast majority of publicans who have invested money and time into making their premises Covid–secure, and for the consumers that were using pubs to socialise safely.”

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