PUBS could remain closed until Christmas in a devastating blow to the trade.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove refused to rule out the possibility yesterday.
He said locals would be among the last to reopen after the Covid-19 lockdown.
The disappointing development came as:
- Daily deaths fell by almost a third to 596 yesterday as experts said Britain may be past the peak of the “first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic
- Massive shortages of protective equipment for NHS staff worsened as a vital shipment from Turkey expected to arrive yesterday was delayed
- Paramedics pleaded for better PPE after having to look after patients while wearing flimsy aprons thinner than bin bags
- Schools could open in June at the earliest, with primary school pupils first in line to return
Pub industry insiders fear staying closed until the end of the year could kill off a huge number of Britain’s 48,349 locals.
Mr Gove was asked whether boozers would open “before winter”.
In response he said: “The other inference that I draw from your question, which is that areas of hospitality will be among the last to exit the lockdown — yes, that is true.”