THE boss of the Bradford Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said if new "anti-alcohol" Scotland hospitality restrictions are introduced in England it would "kill off" the industry here.

Pubs and restaurants in central Scotland will close for 16 days from Friday, while pubs and restaurants in other parts of the country can continue selling food and non-alcoholic drinks indoors up to 6pm, while outdoor alcohol sales will be allowed until 10pm.

"So when nights are closing in and it's getting colder, they'll be able to serve alcohol outside," said Peter Down, acting chairman of Bradford CAMRA.

"It's an anti-alcohol policy rather than a Covid precautionary one that's designed to kill off the hospitality trade.

"If they go down that route here, there will be no hospitality left in England.

"I don't think they will because the government needs the tax money from hospitality to pay off the large debt they've built up.

"The government keeps making it more and more difficult to trade but businesses are getting no or little support to compensate them for the impact of these restrictions. It's making them unviable through no fault of their own."

It is understood, however, that the government could tighten coronavirus restrictions further on Monday, including closing pubs and restaurants.

Mr Down said that the 10pm curfew in place is already devastating pubs across Bradford.

"The 10pm curfew has had a massive impact on the pub trade. I've spoken with a lot of pubs and they're saying that business has been down 60 to 75 per cent since it was introduced.

"They keep asking how long will it last and how much longer their business will be viable.

"Before the curfew's introduction, they were only just breaking even. Many of them are now running at a loss.

"By implementing the curfew, the government wasn't taking any notice of the precautions that pubs already had in place.

"Many publicans accepted that they could apply the Covid precautionary measures, and although it made running the business more difficult they were happy that it was keeping people safe.

"The sanitation precautions were working but the government brought in the curfew anyway."

Mr Down said he recently saw some statistics from Public Health England that said education, care homes and workplaces accounted for 80 per cent of Covid cases while hospitality, leisure and entertainment accounted for just five percent of cases, yet he said "these businesses seem to be hit the hardest with restrictions".

"A lot of publicans I've talked to have said they've not had a sniffle because they've been effective at managing viruses. Their customers are feeling safe but there's been no recognition of it."

Tougher restrictions are being mooted, such as circuit break, which could force hospitality businesses to close for a period of time, but Mr Down does not believe these will be effective.

He said: "This will only delay the virus as it will come eventually and pubs could made non-viable due to the restrictions the government is imposing.

"Businesses should be allowed to continue to trade in a safe manner, implementing precautions to control the virus."

Mr Down also said that the government does not allow time to gauge if new restrictions are effective.

"They had the rule of six and only a week later they introduced the curfew.

"There seems to be a lot of knee-jerk reactions the government are imposing.

"I appreciate that the situation is changing fast, but the data is not driven by the science.

"It seems to be all biased towards the North of England, where there has been more testing. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said there has been insufficient testing in his city. If you test more, you will find more cases. There is no consistency between areas."