A landlady is calling last orders for the final time as the impact of coronavirus has left her facing ‘financial ruin’.

Elaine Hamer, who has run The Plough in Great Harwood for more than five years, made the ‘heartbreaking’ decision to hand her notice in to brewers, Star Pubs and Bars, after experiencing ‘phenomenal stress’ while struggling to balance the books.

At the beginning of lockdown when pubs were forced to close for more than three months, they were given a grant of £10,000 from the Government but Ms Hamer said that was just ‘eaten up’ and since then pubs have had a lack of support.

In recent days pubs have also been hit with a 10pm mandatory closing time and been made to offer table-service only, in a bid to slow the coronavirus spread.

Ms Hamer, 59, said: “After more than five years we are leaving our beloved community pub.

“It will be heartbreaking, our customers are like one big family.

“It was never easy balancing the books, but we scraped by, but the lack of support during Covid has resulted in one long drawn out terminal decline.

“The grant was eaten up by replacing out-of-date stock and paying rent to the brewery.

“The self employment fund to substitute our wages was just over £300 and that was supposed to last four months.

“The stress was phenomenal – we were open, shut, open with restrictions, open with more restrictions, and now we are going to have to provide table service.”

Ms Hamer said there is no way she can provide table service outside without hiring more staff, as the pub did not serve food, and explained the takings, which are now a third of what they were pre-lockdown, won’t support the staff they already have.

She continued: “So whilst the government are trying to encourage people outdoors into a safer setting, they have actually by default closed that option for us.

“It’s too late for us, but the government now need to step in and save the rest.”

Explaining how other pubs in the town have also lost landlords - including Baggy’s on Glebe Street and the Dog and Otter on Cliffe Lane, Ms Hamer, who runs the pub with partner, Ian, said the current situation was putting pub tenants under enormous amounts of stress.

She added: “It’s making me ill. We’ve been trying to manage social distancing but I feel like I’m telling people off all the time.

“I’ve got to close my beer garden because it’s huge; we have one member of staff on the bar in the week and they can’t leave the bar to provide table service - we can’t afford to employ any more staff.

“The brewery haven’t got anyone to take over yet.”

Ms Hamer said she had customers crying in the bar on Sunday when she made the announcement.

Leader of Hyndburn Council Cllr Miles Parkinson said: “As we have highlighted there are certain sectors that can’t address the new measures as the impact on overall trade was broadly affected anyway with less footfall, so to impose additional measures when some venues were just breaking even, this is the last straw for many.

“The government needs to look after those in the hospitality industry because they will not be around in six months time, and the knock on effect to so many other people, and all the social aspects of going out and enjoying yourself have now been reduced to a level that makes it unviable.”