The cost of flood damage to hospitality businesses is likely to run into tens of millions of pounds.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the earlier bout of summer flooding, which hit Sheffield and Hull hard, could cost as much as £1.5b to the UK economy, with 7,000 businesses affected.
And although there is no firm figure yet for the financial impact of the disastrous flooding that has hit vast swathes of southern England on hospitality businesses specifically, it is expected to run into millions.
The Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001, which also saw bookings cancelled and business restricted for many months, is believed to have cost the hospitality sector £2.5b according to the British Tourism Authority.
However, for those battling on, advice and financial support is at hand.
The Federation of Small Businesses has set up a £500,000 fund to grant short-term interest free loans to affected businesses (with a limit of £5,000 per case). Members should apply through their regional office to access the money.
The association has also teamed up with insurance company Tower Gate Partnership to offer advice on minimising flood damage.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is fielding many calls from hospitality businesses unsure of where they stand legally if they carry on working in flood affected premises.
A FPB spokesman said it had been advised that water on the premises did not generally contribute a health and safety concern as long as sensible provisions for drinking water and the safe operation of any equipment were in place.
"If you or your employees to have any concerns about the working environment you should contact your local council's environment department for advice," he said.
The British Hospitality Association has also called for a tax and national insurance payment holiday for those hospitality businesses wrecked by the floods, which is described as "catastrophic".
As of this morning there were 7 severe flood warnings and 35 flood warnings in place across the UK.
By Chris Druce
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