Unless the government steps in with more financial support, 63% of operators don’t believe they will make it through the next six months of the 10pm curfew, according to the latest weekly Hospitality Leaders Poll.

As it moves into its second week, the sense among operators that the curfew will threaten their survival has increased, not least because another 87% believe that customer confidence in returning to eating and drinking out has taken a hit after the curfew was introduced.

“The 10pm curfew is a knee jerk reaction that was ill-informed, not validated by evidence or empirical data and is actually making the R number worse in the capital by tipping thousands of customers into the streets and public transport system en masse,” said one operator. “It’s so silly and they should just admit they got it wrong and reverse it.”

Another 73% slammed the government, saying they had no faith in its handling of the situation.

One major multi-site operator said the curfew is causing “enormous economic impact and I cannot see how it reduces the spread of Covid. The hospitality industry has been exemplary in implementing safe ways of operating - I have been so impressed by operators across the country – it’s an industry to be proud of.

“I used the EOTHO scheme virtually every day it was on offer and safety standards were fantastic then too. The government must surely now see that the return of schools and colleges has been a major cause of the resurgence of the virus.”

Confidence in the future fell again for another consecutive week, with just 48% of operators expressing a level of confidence in the future of their business, slipping below one in two for the first time. Last week 50% said they were, down from 58% the week before, and down from 67% the week before that.

The weekly poll, carried out by Lumina Intelligence for MCA, the MA, Restaurant and Big Hospitality, spoke to 298 board level operators running pubs, restaurants and food to go operations.