A NEW 10pm closing time for pubs has come under fire.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) – whose branches include Keighley & Craven – claims the Government is unfairly targetting the hospitality sector.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced several new measures designed to stop the rise in coronavirus cases.

Included is an order that pubs, restaurants and bars must close by 10pm.

Tom Stainer, for CAMRA, said: "Pubgoers and publicans alike want to stop the spread of Covid-19, but this curfew is an arbitrary restriction that unfairly targets the hospitality sector and will have a devastating impact on pubs, jobs and local communities.

"For the third time in a week, CAMRA is calling for the Government to publish the evidence that pubs or restaurants are the source of more transmissions than other sectors across the country – if they aren’t, then why are they being singled out for nationwide restrictions?

“This is punishing the thousands of responsible publicans across England who are providing a Covid-secure environment for their communities, while already operating at greatly reduced levels in their efforts to keep their customers safe.

“Make no mistake about this – without a proper financial support package, communities will lose their local forever, people will lose their jobs, and publicans their livelihoods. This can only be avoided if the Government acts now to reintroduce the furlough scheme for hospitality venues, extend the business rates holiday for another year, take steps to resolve the rent crisis facing the sector and drastically cut draught beer duty.”

Other regulations announced yesterday include that the hospitality sector should be restricted to table service only, office workers who can work from home should do so, face coverings to be worn in taxis and by retail staff while at work, customers in indoor hospitality to wear face coverings – except while seated at a table – and wedding ceremonies and receptions capped at 15 people.

Bradford Council is calling on the Government to give a “clear commitment” on the financial support package for embattled local businesses hit hard by the restrictions.

Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said: “We ask that everyone in our district follows these new rules.

“The Government said these restrictions might last for up to six months. What we urgently need from the Government is a clear commitment on the financial support package for businesses in our district who have already endured restrictions.”

Trevor Higgins, chief executive of Bradford Breakthrough, said: “These new rules will have a major impact on the hospitality industry, and could cause some places to close for good.

“But, the question is, is there any other option? If I had to make the decision, I think the curfew would be the sensible thing to do, because the last thing we’d want is to go into another national lockdown.”