PUBS and bars in Lancashire will lock the doors at 10pm tonight with no date set to re-open as the county moves into a tier three lockdown.

In the agreement with central Government, Lancashire leaders have secured £42million support package to help businesses and staff employed that will be affected.

The British Beer & Pub Association have estimated that approximately 800 pubs across the county will close in line with the tier three restrictions which will be introduced at 12.01am on Saturday.

County bosses are said to have negotiated a deal which will at least prop up pubs during the period they are forced to close.

Clair Brown, landlady of the Knuzden Tap in Knuzden is angry about the short notice the industry has been given after just having had a large delivery arrive ready for this weekend.

She said: “It's devastating; absolutely devastating. I just can’t budget, I need to keep buying the beer in but also they don’t give me any notice.

“If it was a seven-day notice that would be fine because I could run my stock down. They have given me no option to run my stock down and that is my problem.”

Back in March, Clair had to pour nearly £2,000 worth of stock down the drain and she is expecting to have to waste a similar amount again.

“It will just go to waste, it’s got a sell-by date on it and if it goes past that date it will go down the drain and that’s it.

“Last lockdown I did give as much as I could to my regulars; they were literally filling two little bottles up just trying to get rid of it so it didn’t totally get wasted.”

The Knuzden Tap has become a regular haunt for many and Clair wants to make sure they are able to come back once restrictions are reduced.

“I have a commitment to Knuzden; I will always re-open that place.” Clair said. “I will survive, I am one of the businesses that survive. We will come back even better than before.”

Not all pubs will have to close in the county as pubs that serve food have been given the green light to stay open.

In areas where premises could only remain open as restaurants, officials said the expectation was that drinks could only be served with a substantial meal - purchasing a drink with a bag of crisps would not suffice for example.

The legislation uses the term “table meal”, saying alcohol can only be sold as part of one which “might be expected to be served as the main midday or main evening meal”.

Derek Haworth runs the Fox and Hounds pub near Ewood Park and has seen a huge decrease in business since the introduction of the 10pm curfew, and thinks that tier three may actually help some pubs in the industry.

He said: “I’ve been here for 28 years and this week is by far the worst week ever.

“The tier two is unworkable anyway for most local pubs like myself. People have been coming in for years, they don’t want one sitting at one table and one at another.

“At least if we go into tier three then at least we will get some financial backing.”

A month ago, Mr Haworth, 68, said he and his wife Sue have decided to stand back from the Rovers home pub within the next six months.

Their decision was made in September because of a combination of wanting to retire and facing an uncertain future because of the coronavirus crisis.

It won’t just be pubs hit by the closures however, as local breweries are waiting to hear of what support they will receive.

Managing director of Moorhouse's Brewery in Burnley, Lee Williams, would like clarification on what the path is through tier three and how the government propose we get out of it.

He said: “Without any indication around what happens next, we can’t plan and uncertainty is one of the worst things you can have in any business.

“Once you then know you can plan, make adjustments and talk to suppliers so you can start to map a route out of this.

“At the moment, we are in the dark and no-one from what I am seeing is describing to me what the exit strategy is or what length of time we will be in the tier three.

“Until that happens, that uncertainty will undoubtedly then put pressure on what we do with staff and how we run the business.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Tier three restrictions will have a devastating impact on pubs, brewers and their wider supply chain in Lancashire unless a proper support package is available to all businesses impacted.

“Pubs in Lancashire are already struggling with the 10pm curfew, rule of six, lower levels of consumer confidence and a huge drop in domestic and international tourism.

“These additional tier three measures mean pubs in Lancashire can only remain open if they serve substantial meals, but with even more restrictions including no mixed household groups either inside or outside and only being allowed to serve alcohol with a substantial meal.

“This will completely kill the business model of up to 400 pubs. The remaining 800 pubs who don’t serve substantial meals will be forced to close completely. The survival of all pubs in either of these categories is hanging dangerously in the balance.”