A Somerset pub landlord says he fully expects half of pubs to close for good because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patrick Mahony, who runs The Winchester Arms in Trull, near Taunton, has had to discard between £1,000 and £1,500 worth of drinks after a Government ban on takeaway alcohol. He says his business is losing money every month.
He thought his pub would be able to sell takeaway alcohol during lockdown - so he stocked up. To his surprise, it was banned because of concerns people would congregate outside venues.
Patrick said: "Because we can't do takeaway alcohol this time, which we were able to in the previous lockdown, I've got more stock in the cellar than I would have had if I'd known we weren't going to be able to sell.
"I'm going to have to throw between £1,000 and £1,500 worth of beer, cider and lager away because it's gone off."
Patrick's pub is a popular one in an affluent Somerset village. He and his staff are still selling takeaway meals, but he says he's losing around £4,000 a month.
He said: "At the moment we're taking about £1,000 a week. We've also got rent and insurance of £1,000 a week to pay, we've got staff to pay, we've got gas, electricity - we're spending about £10,000 a month for a £4,000 income. We're losing money.
"The government grants offset that to an extent but we're getting in about 60 per cent of what we need to."
Pubs and restaurants may be allowed to reopen in April so long as they do not serve alcohol, reports suggest.
Patrick says he expects half of Britain’s pubs to close for good after the pandemic and is calling for regulation of rent costs to help them survive.
He says he will fight to stay open long-term, but is unsure whether that will be possible. He said: "I’ve taken out a bounce-back loan of £50,000, which was supposed to be setting up for reopening, whereas, as it is now, I’m down to about £20,000 of that £50,000 loan and I’ve put in £50,000 of my own money, my own savings.
"I’ve got five years on the lease - even if we stay open for those five years I’ve got to try and claw back enough money to give myself a retirement."