Almost three quarters of British pubs and restaurants could go bust by the end of next year, a shock report reveals.
The nation's boozers are feeling the squeeze from the coronavirus pandemic, with England currently experiencing a second national lockdown.
Trade bodies representing pubs and hospitality businesses claim the sector expects a shocking 72% of firms to become unviable and close next year.
The British Beer & Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality say they have conducted market research showing thousands of companies need the Government to do more to support them.
The survey found that the tiering system used across England was particularly damaging to pubs and hospitality businesses. Before the national lockdown it included a 10pm curfew for all pubs which were open, and other restrictions depending on what tier a business was in.
December is thought to be a key months for the survival of pubs and hospitality businesses due to the seasonal increase in trade over the festive period.
Industry bosses want the Government to adapt the current tier restrictions by relaxing the ban on households mixing in tier two, alongside a modest extension to the 10pm curfew.
A joint spokesman for the three organisations said: "The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the Government's restrictions are having on hospitality and pub businesses.
Buying alcohol anywhere in England after 9pm could be banned, claims cabinet minister
"Without a change in approach and more support from Government, much of the sector could be gone within a year – that means businesses and jobs lost plus much-loved venues closed forever.
"We recognise that local restrictions will need to be based on local risk levels, but to ensure our sector can bring people together properly this Christmas and beyond, and crucially provide them a safe environment to socialise in, we believe the tier system should be fine-tuned.
"Those pubs and hospitality venues facing tier three restrictions currently have an impossible task of trying to remain viable as businesses.
"In recognition of this, the Government must enable wet-led pubs to re-open in tier three where they do not serve food, as well as significantly enhance the grant support for those businesses not viable across all tiers, but especially those in tier three.
"This will ensure their very survival so they can re-open once more when we are through the worst of this crisis."
The pub and hospitality industry has been hit harder than most by the coronavirus pandemic.
Boozers were initially shut completely when the first Covid-19 lockdown began in March before they were reopened with certain stipulations.
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