BORIS Johnson’s 10pm curfew on the hospitality industry has been loudly criticised across southern Oxfordshire, with one pub landlord describing measures as a ‘big mess’.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will have to shut early from tomorrow, as part of new restrictions to halt the rise in coronavirus cases.

As well as forcing venues to close at 10pm, the Prime Minister also announced a legal restriction on the hospitality sector to be table service only, meaning buying drinks at the bar will not be possible.

Manager of the Old Anchor Inn in Abingdon Jaci Clark-King, who has been in the business for almost 40 years, admitted she was confused.

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The pub, in Helens Wharf, is normally open from 10am to midnight on Monday to Thursday and from 10am until 1am on Friday and Saturday.

This means that Mrs Clark-King will lose out on at least 10 hours of trade.

The manager said: “I do not benefit from any trade during the day. Abingdon is an expensive town, so people who live here tend to be at work during the day. All the money the pub earns is from 9pm onwards.”

Even more, she argued that table service only would damage her business further.

She added: “We have a lovely, spacious garden that people like to sit in, but unfortunately the signal for the card terminal is very bad. People will now have to pay cash only if sitting outside, which makes social distancing and all other rules pointless.”

One of the directors of the Bear Hotel in Wantage, Jo Walkley, agreed the rules would have a ‘massive impact on the industry’.

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While the hotel in Market Place is not known for its nightlife, the constant tightening of restrictions has hit the business and directors are considering shutting the hotel temporarily to curb major financial losses.

Some publicans were just grateful that the hospitality industry was to remain open.

Nicola Hickey, manager of the Six Bells in Warborough, near Wallingford, said the curfew was not a ‘major issue’.

She added: “I am just happy that we can continue working. We have already introduced table service only and customers have been really supportive. It is a shame we will have to close earlier on a few days of the week but it is better than nothing.”

The new rules have already been strongly rejected by hospitality leaders, who pointed to Public Health England data showing that under five per cent of new coronavirus infections occurred in bars and restaurants.

Unite national officer for hospitality Dave Turnbull also warned of ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs’ in danger.

He said: “The Government’s introduction of a 10pm curfew is not following its own scientific data. The only way that the Government will be able to avoid a massive loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the hospitality sector is by extending a modified version of the job retention scheme.

“The delays in introducing an effective testing regime and a working track and trace system is making the problem even worse.”