Coppa Club backer Hugh Osmond has warned many hospitality venues will never reopen after lockdown on Thursday.

In an op-ed for The Daily Mail, Osmond said: “Make no mistake, once the last meal is served and the last pint pulled, a swathe of these establishments will not be re-opening their doors. Having struggled through the first lockdown, they can’t survive a second.”

The former Pizza Express operator said “Christmas is already over” in the hospitality industry, judging by Michael Gove’s warning yesterday.

As well as the “depressing prospect” of boarded-up pubs, bars and restaurants, and the knock-on effect on fishmongers, butchers, bakers, florists, cleaners and launderers, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs in peril, Osmond said his greatest fear was for young people who staff hospitality venues.

He said: “An entire generation who despite being at virtually zero risk from Covid-19 will pay the heaviest price of all.”

With hospitality, along with retail, the biggest employer of school and university leavers in the UK, between 30%-50% of under-25s could soon be facing unemployment, he said.

“As the father of three teenagers, aged from 14 to 19, I believe this government has betrayed an entire generation of young people. And for what? They are not driving this disease – nor are they, in general, at risk from it. It’s also a complete myth that entertainment venues have been the driver of coronavirus infections or that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme contributed to its spread.

“The evidence simply doesn’t not back this up.”

Osmond called for greater protection of care homes and their occupants – around half a million people – which he said was preferable to stopping a population of 67m from socialising.