ONE in ten pubs in Oxfordshire could be headed towards last orders as a result of a delay in ending Covid restrictions, campaigners have warned.

Members of the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have urged people to do all they can to support their local, which could go out of business, following a damning survey this month by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII).

The survey found that 11 per cent of pubs would collapse if restrictions were not lifted on June 21, while 43 per cent would make a loss and 34 per cent would only break even. 

Even more, independent pub businesses were particularly at risk, with average debts due to the pandemic reaching between £40,000 and £80,000.

ALSO READ: Historic Oxfordshire pubs hoist 'for sale' signs after difficult year

Dave Richardson, a spokesperson for the local CAMRA branch, highlighted that this could lead to around 20 pub closures across Oxford, Abingdon and Witney.

He said that the latest figures are 'very worrying' and added: "Although very few pubs in this area have remained closed since the pandemic started, all are trading at reduced capacity while at the same time facing increased staff costs due to coronavirus restrictions.

"People may feel that going to the pub now is not the same experience, with table service only, a limit of six people from different households who can meet indoors, and the need to wear masks when not seated. 

"But now, more than ever, they need our support if they are going to survive.

"It really is a case of 'use them or lose them', and many pubs play a vital role at the heart of their communities, which nobody can afford to lose."

Some of the measures that the BII has proposed include an extension of business rates relief, which are due to end on June 30, until April 2022, further extension of the VAT cut at 5 per cent until next year, and a cut in beer duty for pubs.

ALSO READ: How Oxfordshire's pubs are embracing the football spirit

Last month, the Oxford Mail reported that currently there are at least a dozen pubs on the market, according to Rightmove, with Grade II-listed properties with rich histories dating as far back as the 15th century among them.

Steven Lyne, general manager of The Royal Blenheim on St Ebbes Street, said it is 'absolutely soul crushing' to turn people away when all tables are full, especially during the European Football Championship, when in previous years, pub goers would comfortably sit on the floor to watch a sports game if seats are taken.

He pointed out that the football has been a 'saving grace' for the pub and that he has no plans to close any time soon, however, he said that not all businesses are in the same financial position.

Mr Lyne said: "Hopefully, we will make it out on the other side, but I have been speaking to other landlords in Oxford and there are some who are taking less than £100 a day, which is unheard of in this day and age.

"This is absolutely nothing, and thankfully we have not suffered like that because of our regulars, but others are doing some very poor trading, especially if they do not have screens for the sports."

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.