PUB bosses have spoken of their disappointment and anger after Lancashire was placed in the toughest tier 3 lockdown by the Government yesterday, ending their hopes of reopening.

Most have been closed since restrictions were tightened in October amid rising coronavirus infection rates and they now face more months of inactivity on top of the four months they had to close during the first waves of Covid earlier in the year.

Landlord of the White Bull in Oswaldtwistle and Hyndburn councillor for Immanuel ward, Josh Allen, said: “It’s greatly upsetting to be honest. We are doing everything we can.

“We are one of the strictest industries you can use and one of the only industries that is making you wear masks, sign in and do track and trace.”

The new tier 3 system will see stricter restrictions which will see all hospitality and indoor entertainment closed, unless food or drink venues can operate as a takeaway or drive-thru service.

Cllr Allen said: “It definitely seems that this Government doesn’t care about the hospitality industry at all.

“We are one of the lucky ones to be honest as we can continue to do takeaways whereas wet-based pubs in Hyndburn are in an even worst situation.”

Mellor Brook-based pub group and brewer Daniel Thwaites has joined with other breweries and pub groups in writing to Boris Johnson telling him pubs are being ‘scapegoated’ and could be lost forever, unless he takes action.

Thwaites, along with the British Beer and Pub Association and 50 other firms have penned the letter to the Prime Minister saying that pubs are being “singled out” and are subjected to “harsh and unjustified treatment.”

Daniel Thwaites chief executive Richard Bailey said: “Pubs, livelihoods, employment and communities will be destroyed by Mr Gove and Mr Hancock’s shameful targeting of them in the new tier system and tier 3 is a lockdown through stealth and deceit.

“There is no evidence that pubs are the problem they are being smeared with, in fact quite the opposite, they have invested millions to be Covid-19 safe and secure and have been proven to have one of the lowest transmission rates of the virus.

“Our pubs are safer than any other public space I can think of.

"Through this illogical targeting, Mr Gove, Hancock and Johnson are wilfully dealing out certain economic ruin to our pubs.

“Community pubs in the North will suffer disproportionate hardship as there are more wet-led community pubs in this area, born out of its industrial heritage.”

Greene King, which operates The Fernhurst in Blackburn and Sycamore Farm in Burnley, and Manchester breweries Joseph Holt and JW Lees also signed the letter.

Glen Duckett, landlord of the Eagle and Child in Ramsbottom, said the restrictions were going to cause unnecessary hardship, pointing out that the region had seen a fall in the rate of coronavirus infections.

His pub and restaurant opened in October 2011 as a social enterprise and has supported 130 unemployed and disadvantaged young people with training and employment.

However, Mr Duckett said restrictions mean they will no longer be able to take on three apprentices next week as planned.

He said: “With the lockdowns plus all of this, going into December which is one of our key trading times, we’ve lost tens of thousands of pounds and we’re a small business, we help disadvantaged young people into work.

“There’s just a complete lack of comprehension by the people making the decisions, it’s inconsistent, knee-jerk approaches.”

The indoor entertainment industry has also been hit by tier 3 restrictions, with theatres, museum, skating rinks and casinos all to remain closed in the worst-hit areas.

Blackburn Empire Theatre closed on March 14 after cancelling its show the following week due to Covid-19 concerns.

Chairman Michael Berry believes there is a possibility that they may end up being closed for a year if rates remain high in the area.

He said: “Uncertainty is the problem. You can’t switch a show or a programme of shows on in two minutes, it takes a lot of promoting.”

“The bottom line is, if it is dangerous for people to mix in the theatres we’ve got to do what is legally right to save lives.”