BREWERY boss Chris Welham thinks the government was wrong to bring in a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants and says it will damage trade.

Mr Welham, who is CEO of Devizes brewery Wadworth which has pubs across Wiltshire and beyond, said: “In the short term, we chose to close our Managed pubs by 10pm, but we would have liked the option to open beyond this time in line with the hours permitted under our premises licences.

“We can’t do this now. Our business partners are also clearly impacted by enforced closure at 10pm.

“ I fully appreciate the need for taking appropriate action that safeguards public health. But even the Government’s own Public Health England survey has shown that coronavirus transmission within a hospitality business setting of any kind is below five per cent.

“ It feels a bit counter intuitive to then penalise pubs and restaurants when our pubs remain a safe and welcoming environment for people to relax and enjoy the company of others in a regulated way and with the appropriate precautions being carefully managed.”

But Mr Welham is pleased that Wadworth’s flagship hostelry The Bear Hotel in Devizes has finally re-opened.

Back in July a decision was made to delay the opening of the hotel in the Market Place until September.

It has now re-opened its bar, brasserie and rooms. But plans for a new brewery on the outskirts of Devizes to replace the historic one in the centre of town are still on hold.

Mr Welham thinks the Government could be doing more to help the licensed trade. He said: “We always anticipated that these next six months coming will be particularly tough and latest restrictions announced by the Prime Minister make things that little bit harder.

“I felt that the Chancellor didn’t fully recognise how hard things will be for hospitality businesses in general from now into next year.

“ We would have liked to have seen news of an extension of the business rates holiday beyond March next year as it is clear that we will be operating with additional restrictions for some considerable time.”