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Pubs could remain closed until at least Christmas in massive blow for trade – Mirror Online

Britain’s pubs could remain on lockdown until at least Christmas thanks to the coronavirus pandemic in a “massive blow” to the trade.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said boozers would be among the final businesses to be given the green light to re-open once the outbreak is under control.

Speaking on Sunday, he refused to rule out the possibility that this could mean pubs are shut up until the winter.

Experts, meanwhile, have given Brits a glimmer of hope, estimating the country could have already endured the peak of the disease’s “first wave” after the latest death toll dropped by almost a third to 596.

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Cabinet Minister Michael Gove confirmed pubs would be among the last businesses to re-open
(Image: BBC)

 

However, major protective equipment shortages for NHS staff has got worse after a shipment from Turkey was held up.

Pub trade insiders have told the Sun a growing number of locals face going under if they can’t open their doors until the end of the year or later.

Asked if the UK’s 48,349 pubs would likely be up and running again “before winter”, Mr Gove said: “The other inference that I draw from your question, which is that areas of hospitality will be among the last to exit the lockdown — yes, that is true.”

The Silver Cross pub in Whitehall, London
(Image: REUTERS)

Frank Maguire from Truman’s brewery told the Sun: “Things are looking pretty dire.”

He said the Christmas period is “as big as business gets” in the trade and feared they may not be re-opened until the start of 2021, which “will be a huge loss”.

“January and February are dead months — without Christmas to carry us through, we will struggle. It will be a very glum start to 2021.”

Mr Maguire said Euro 2020 – “worth millions to the industry” – being moved to next summer could be another nail in the coffin for some.

The Cabinet Office has rebutted allegations the crisis has been mishandled and that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was absent from multiple crucial Cobra meetings.

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Coronavirus outbreak

It said: “This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.

“The Prime Minister has been at the helm of the response to this, providing leadership during this hugely challenging period for the whole nation.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had also refused to set a date for schools reopening at yesterday’s daily conference, following reports some ministers were keen to seen kids back behind their desks by May 11.

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