A BUSINESS leader in Oxfordshire said pubs and restaurants will be hit ‘very hard’ by the Government’s latest guidance on coronavirus.

In his daily briefing yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public not to go to pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues.

But the Government stopped short of ordering establishments to close which will make it more difficult for premises to claim for the loss with their insurers.

As a result, up to one million pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels face losing their jobs.

Keith Slater, of Oxfordshire Town Chambers Network, said: “This is going to hit pubs and restaurants very hard indeed because they will struggle to claim on their insurance at the moment.

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“The Prime Minister needs to think about a mechanism for allowing pubs and restaurants to claim on their insurance.

“The Government needs to think about sustainability – once we get through this, however long it takes, we want those resources, those pubs and restaurants and other social venues to still be there.”

Britain’s £120bn hospitality industry has hit back, saying pubs and bars were now ‘in limbo’ without government support and with no ability to claim insurance for a huge decline in trade.

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Top restaurateurs in Oxfordshire, including Raymond Blanc, have already expressed their concern.

Mr Blanc tweeted: “Our hospitality industry is being sacrificed, battered, with no clear direction from @borisjohnson.

“This puts each of our businesses from the humble bistros right up to the @guidemichelinuk in a dire straight (sic) situation, no man’s land.”

Chef Shaun Dickens at Bistro at The Boathouse in Henley added: “I’m speechless with how poor a decision that was from Boris. To be fair he didn’t make any decisions – now the industry so many of us have invested our lives into is very close to collapsing. #keepfighting.”

Mr Johnson announced new measures on Friday urging people to avoid all ‘non-essential’ social contact, but pub owners warned the sector faces an ‘existential threat’ unless the government urgently steps in with financial support.

Oxford Mail:

The Unite union estimates that up to a third of the UK’s 3.2 million hospitality jobs are under threat as people stay home during the pandemic.

Unite called on the government to pay the wages of workers who would otherwise be laid off.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality, described Mr Johnson’s announcement as ‘catastrophic’.

She added: “The Government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.”

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“Over the past few weeks, the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees.

“This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.”

It emerged earlier this month that many pubs would not be covered by their insurance policies for loss of trade caused by coronavirus.

The Association of British Insurers warned that only a small number of pubs are likely to have cover for what are known as notifiable diseases – a group of infections that must be reported to the Government.