PUB landlords in Worcester say another lockdown could force them to close their business permanently, and that the 10pm curfew has already hit them hard.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said yesterday that a local lockdown currently looks unlikely but he couldn’t rule out the move if the number of Covid cases rises more sharply in the area in the coming days.

Colin Robinson, the landlord of the Chestnut Tree Inn in Lansdowne Road, Barbourne, said: “If there was a second lockdown, over 50 per cent of pubs across the country would close down permanently. Pubs as we know it will die. But we won’t die, I’ll make sure of it.”

Mark Daniels, who runs the Brewers Arms in Comer Road with wife Debbie, said: “If they shut us, when I’ve been asked if we could survive that I always say 'If you worked in a factory and they shut the factory, would you survive?"

There were concerns earlier this week when it was revealed that the infection rate for Worcester had nearly doubled in the week to October 2, to 66.2 cases per 100,000 people, while Bromsgrove reached 84.1. Areas have seen local restrictions when cases were around 70 and higher, for example households were banned from mixing in Birmingham when their rate reached 90.3 cases per 100,000 people last month.

Mr Robinson, affectionately known as Mad Pierre, said his trade had suffered badly since the stricter rules on hospitality came in last month.

“The waiting on tables is costing us,” he said. “People behind the bar wear a mask, people can’t go to the bar, and don’t have to wear a mask when they are sitting down. It’s rubbish. Where is the science for this?" He added: “Covid is rife in universities, yet they are not closing. We are having a temporary marquee put up in the garden so we can have live music out there in the winter – rather than fit 40 people inside, I can have 80 people in."

Mr Daniels at the Brewers Arms said customers who would normally stay beyond 10pm are going home to drink instead. “We understand the masks, the track and trace, the table seating, but the 10pm curfew, I don’t know where the science has come for it,” he said.

“Trade has taken a hit. We have lost 21 hours, the equivalent of two trading days.

“People tell me what they are doing, they leave the pub to buy alcohol and go to people’s houses. It's been a kick in the teeth for us."

On the possibility of being forced to close for a local lockdown, he added: "We would look at the financial support, but if it happened again how far could the government stretch this time?”

Craig Finn, owner of Belgian beer cafe Tripel B in Copenhagen Street, said he expects more restrictions from the government.

“It feels like there is more coming, and that now is the real concern," he said. "If we end up with a situation we can’t serve inside but can outside, we would adapt to do that.

“If we could only operate as an off licence, then we would do that. But if we end up in total lockdown, survival depends entirely on government support, and I’d doubt they would be as generous as last time.”

MP Mr Walker said the increase in Covid cases was a major concern.

“We need to take this very seriously, the numbers are rising," he said.

“I am hopeful we can avoid a second nationwide lockdown. Locally, because we are below the national average, it is unlikely we would see a local lockdown any time soon. But I can’t rule it out if the numbers change and we see something of that nature in the future.

“As things stand Worcestershire is a relatively safe place to be. I think it is important people don’t get so focused on the numbers here that they think this is all terrible and everything is going badly, because actually a lot of things are going pretty well.

“The testing has increased over the last few weeks since we went through that rough patch.

“I have written to the Chancellor with some of the concerns of the hospitality sector, who feel the 10pm curfew is particularly harsh. It is about making sure we have good evidence.

“If it is the case it makes a significant difference in stopping the spread of the virus, in that case it would be the right thing to do.”