PUBS and restaurants across the borough are bracing themselves for a difficult time as they fight for survival through their fourth closure.

Hospitality venues will not be allowed to open next week as Bolton enters Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Mike Hales, from Imagine Inns, runs both The Railway in Bromley Cross, and The Hawthorns in Blackrod.

He said: "The whole thing is just diabolical, Christmas isn't going to happen for us.

"I'm sure we'll be told to shut in January and we can't open until at least the 16th – there's no way we can open for Christmas and make any money.

"We've got that much loss, and there's only so much we can take. The profit we make now sees us through to April.

"Obviously we're not going to get that same boost this year, and we're at massive losses already, so I'm sure every hospitality business is now questioning their future.

"The whole industry is feeling deflated, and we're all worried about what the future holds if we don't open soon – can we even survive?"

Mr Hales considers himself lucky, as he was able to purchase another business in Wales that can operate, giving him something to focus on.

All of his staff have access to mental health support from Mind Influences in Bury,

Angela Baker, who runs Baker's in Egerton with husband Jason, knows that they won't be able to open before Christmas.

She said: "It's such a massive blow, we've been closed over half of the year now.

"A lot of the pub owners I know say their whole trade is based around Christmas, that's where they make their living and certainly in a year like this on it's affecting everyone that way.

"We shut down the week of Christmas becaus we have young children so even if we go to Tier 2 it's not worth us opening for a few days before we close for Christmas.

"Tier 2 wouldn't be much better, for my businesses we have a lot of people coming out to meet friends for coffee during the week and that can't happen so we've already seen a huge impact – but at least we would be open.

"There's a sense of relief for a lot of people that we know what's happening now, so we can at least plan.

"The last week has been awful because there's been trees to order, Christmas menus to think about, tables to book, but no idea what, when, or how many. If you don't do the work then you have to scramble around at the last minute – at least now we know.

"We don't know from day to day what's happening – how do you run a business like that? How do you keep your staff on?

"We've got such a really strong team and we will look after them but it's such a massive ask to keep paying their National Insurance and taxes to keep them furloughed when we've got no income.

"We've made up wages in the last lockdowns but we just can't do that this time. My staff are really well tipped so for them they're 20 per cent short from the wages and they're losing out on tips in the run up to Christmas.