New restrictions could be 'nail in the coffin' of region's hospitality industry

Ipswich town centre was quieter than usual on the last weekend before Christmas. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The region's hospitality industry has warned new covid restrictions could be the "nail in the coffin" for many businesses.

It comes after the Health Secretary refused to rule out introducing more measures before Christmas.

Sajid Javid said while there remains uncertainty about the new variant, it is time to be "more cautious" amid the rapid spread of the strain.

On the last weekend before Christmas, Ipswich town centre was quieter than usual as people stayed away.

Cllr Sarah Barber, Portfolio holder for the town centre on Ipswich Borough Council, said pubs and restaurants need more support to survive.

Cllr Barber said: "We've done everything that we can to support people by organising events to try and attract people into the town centre.

"But I think if things carry on, we're going to have to call for some central government support for these businesses so that they're still here when things improve."

Oliver Hepworth, manager of The Black Prince pub in Northampton, fears another lockdown. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Black Prince pub in Northampton has already had to cancel a number of gigs. The landlord believes it's only a matter of time before a new lockdown.

Oliver Hepworth, manager of The Black Prince, said: "I'd rather just be told, yes it's this day, that's when it's going to happen, so we know.

"It's definitely coming it's just when it's going to come.

"I hope we can just get through to New Year's Eve and if we can get passed New Year's Eve at least we can get a little bit of money in the bank before we all get shut down again."