The owner of a Salisbury restaurant says the new 10pm curfew for pubs, restaurants and bars, seems “a little unfair”.

From today, hospitality businesses will have to shut early as part of the latest measure taken by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Tim Tonkin, head chef of Allium, hopes his business won’t be affected “too much”. However, looking at the bigger picture, he fears the newly-imposed restriction will have “a substantial effect” on the hospitality industry as a whole.

He said: “Pubs are going to suffer enormously, they’re really going to struggle if they lose one or two hours worth of trade which at the weekend could be make or break for the business.

“[As an industry] we’ve made huge changes to the way we operate to comply with social distancing guidelines and personally I don’t see how closing one of two hours earlier is going to make any difference.

“Scapegoat is not the right word but they make it look like we’re the problem. I don’t know what the problem is or how to fix it but it does seem a little unfair for an industry that has already suffered so much to be put through more suffering and hardship.”

Mr Tonkin also made the point that the move could have a “knock-on effect” as people may well decide to gather in private homes where no Covid measures are in place.

Although he recognises that some kind of action needs to be taken to avoid a second wave, he argues that perhaps only the towns and cities struggling to contain the virus should be affected by the new rule.

Nathan Muirhead, owner of the New Inn in Amesbury, has a different view.

He said: “Wiltshire is very low down the list but we can’t be complacent because if we don’t do anything then in three weeks time we might be in a very different place.

“Because cases are so low people think it’s not going to happen here but it will if people keep shaking hands and hugging each other.”

Although he feels restrictions are needed, the 35-year-old says he has mixed feelings about the curfew, despite the fact he feels it came as no surprise.

How long it will be in place for might have repercussions on staff and from a financial point of view, not being able to trade between 11pm and 2am might result in the loss of 90 per cent of the pub’s income.

He added: “Are we going to see sales plummet or are we going to see people starting to come out at 6?

“We just don’t know how people are going to behave so the impact is very much unknown.”