A pub landlady has spoken out about the impact of Covid on her business after the government banned pubs from selling takeaway alcohol in the latest lockdown.

Claire Christian, who owns The Wheel, in Naphill, said she and other pub owners feel they are “now being victimised” and are all “slowly going out of business” despite adapting to different and Covid-secure ways of working.

She told the Bucks Free Press: “Mentally this is the most stressful thing anyone can go through anyway because you’re looking at the loss of your business.

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“Also, the permanent shifting of benchmarks from the government to us has been hard.

“Everyone understands we need face masks, a one-way system, sanitising tables constantly, etc. and the majority of places have adhered to the rules to ensure the safety of customers and staff – but you think you’ve finally worked it all out when the rules change again, and you’re knocked down again.

“That has been the toughest thing of all because we’re an adaptable bunch as landlords and publicans, but to have to keep doing this and to have to change so regularly, you are constantly sitting there thinking ‘we’re going to lose our business’.”

It comes after the Prime Minister plunged England into a third lockdown last week, with all pubs and restaurants ordered to close and only offer food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway, click-and-collect and drive-through.

All food and drink, including alcohol, can be provided by delivery.

Mrs Christian said while she and husband Mark, along with few remaining staff, are still doing takeaway food, the banning of takeaway alcohol has impacted the business in a big way.

She said: “With this new lockdown we are no longer allowed to sell alcohol, but all supermarkets can.

“Doing takeaway beer with food made it worthwhile because then I could flexi-furlough my staff so they still had a purpose and it gave them a mental boost.

“Suddenly, to get the ‘you can’t sell beer’, compared to what I would normally get in over the weekend, I’ve lost maybe £500 or £600 this weekend.

“We’re currently taking in less than 10 per cent of what we would normally take.

“A lot of pubs haven’t even been able to do what we have, we are very lucky, and they’re just having to shut their doors because they have no other option.

“It’s a very scary time, and this is even more scary than the first time around.”

The business, like many others, has suffered financially, with Mrs Christian saying the pub and their home above is on business rates for utilities.

She said: “We haven’t got the heating on apart from for two hours a day. We’re cost-cutting, we’re making sure we’re going to survive so the least amount of light or gas you’re using is saving you money.

“There is so much wastage too, all that beer going down the drain, it's a waste of money.

“Smaller breweries are suffering, freehouses are also suffering - it’s a massive chain of businesses that it works down.”

She told the BFP the situation has impacted her, her husband’s and staff members’ mental health, adding they feel “victimised” after they were banned from selling takeaway beer but supermarkets and off-licences were allowed to continue selling alcohol.

She said: “I don’t understand what the difference is between buying two pints from me in a sealed container and going to the supermarket or off-licence and getting as much as you like.

“So supermarkets, who have been making millions, throughout this pandemic can carry on exactly what they were doing, yet the pub trade and hospitality trade aren’t allowed to do what we do.”

It is now being reported pubs and restaurants in England may not open until May – a move which Mrs Christian says many pubs might not be able to survive.

She added: “The traditional British pub is all about having a beer, it’s that community base where you have the ability to vent your feelings and talk to other people over that pint.

“All of a sudden, that fundamental aspect of what a public house is has gone completely.

“What they’re doing is they’re taking away our ability to possibly survive by taking away the alcohol and making things more difficult.

“You can walk around a supermarket and handle everything you want but you can’t even walk through my door.

“We feel we are being picked on as an industry more than anyone else, and that’s not fair.

“This industry isn’t going to be the same again for a good few years, but please don’t completely kill us.”