Britain's pubs and restaurants lost £200million a day from lost sales in 2020, shocking new figures reveal.
The hospitality industry has been one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and turnover in the sector dropped by a staggering £72billion compared to the previous year, stats from trade body UKHospitality and data experts CGA suggest.
There was a big drop-off in the last quarter of 2020 in what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for pubs, bars and restaurants with Christmas and New Year.
Many firms were forced to close for either the entire festive period or almost all of it as strict lockdown measures prevented them from opening.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "These figures are simply devastating. Hospitality was hit first, hit hardest and continues to suffer because of the pandemic restrictions brought in.
"And sitting behind the massive loss of revenue is the dreadful, real impact on people's lives and livelihoods across all parts of the sector and supply chain."
Ms Nicholls called for further support measures from the government to help the industry survive a third national lockdown.
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She added: "Hospitality can and will bounce back and it's in the interests of the government to support a sector that, in normal times, contributes many billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury and employs over three million people."
The Daily Star reported that industry chiefs fear as many as 12,000 British boozer could shut for good in 2021, costing a horrifying 290,000 jobs.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the industry will not be able to survive until May. That is when it has been suggested boozers will be able to reopen.
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It is hoped the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, with more than 7.8 million people receiving the first jab, will speed up the reopening of the hospitality industry.
Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, said: "Hospitality has responded to the pandemic with courage and innovation.
"Businesses have worked tirelessly to protect jobs, to support local communities and, when they are able to trade, to keep people safe.
"The rollout of the vaccine means there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel, but more support is desperately needed to help businesses survive the next few months."
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