Long before the lockdown began many pubs were struggling with hundreds closing in recent years. Now, of course, their doors remain shut as they wait for restrictions to be lifted.

However, many claim that may be too late as they are forced to pay rent while their businesses dry up.

  • ITV News Meridian report by Andy Dickenson

Charlie Piper-Hodgson and Thais Robertson grew up around this pub.

They've run it for three years and invested more than £100,000 into it but all that is now at risk.

The future of their business is souring while the beer in their cellar goes stale.

  • Charlie Piper-Hodgson and Thais Robertson- Publicans

During all the crisis that have befallen Britain in recent centuries pubs have forever stayed open, until Coronavirus.

Many pubs say while their doors are closed their debts are mounting.

As most tenants are also the guarantors all their assets could be up for grabs, even if they're declared bankrupt.

For some pubs with greater freedom, there are greater options. This micro-pub in Bournemouth is now a weekend take-away.

  • Pamela Skuce- Pub owner

The Shepherd Neame has been operating since 1573 Credit: ITV Meridian

Meanwhile, the Shepherds Neame brewery in Kent - which owns 240 pubs - says its cancelled the rent for all its tenants with no bills to pay at all.

Yes, we've taken a pay cut the senior members of the team have also taken a pay cut. We cancelled the dividend for shareholders too. This is an extraordinary crisis. Our business has been going, operating since 1573. This is the first time we've been shut down. Our licensees are the key part in our business. They will lead us out of this recovery. We tried to make that as smooth a path as possible by cancelling rents. And when they are allowed to reopen they will have other challenges in front of them.

Jonathan Naeme- Shepherd Neame Brewery
The senior members of Shepherd Neame have taken a pay cut Credit: ITV Meridian

In a statement, the Stonegate Pub Company told us it has a multi-million pound support package for publicans, offering credit against future stock and a price rise postponement.

However, some of our beloved pubs still say this could be one lock-in they will not survive.