Pub and brewing industry leaders have made a final pre-Christmas plea for further government support as the sector faces its quietest festive period on record.
Trade bodies including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), CAMRA, Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB), Pub is the Hub, UKHospitality and chef Tom Kerridge have warned thousands of pubs could close in the new year without financial help.
They say an average pub would normally expect to take £47,000 in December to tide them over in the quieter period in January and February.
But with 85% of Britain's pubs now closed or unable to trade viably due to coronavirus restrictions, their survival hangs in the balance.
The trade bodies say enhanced government grants of at least £3,000-£12,000 a month, dependent on pubs' rateable value, are needed for a minimum of three months from 1 January.
Government ministers are meeting today to discuss the extension of the toughest Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, which means the closure of hospitality apart from takeaway, to more areas of England.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: "The government has to recognise the damage that has been done, and do more to secure the future of pubs. That means grant support for pubs like those in Wales, which are as much as four times higher than for pubs in England facing similar restrictions.
"Failure by the government to do this would be failing communities across the country, whose local is vital to their wellbeing."
Between 24 and 26 December the BBPA has forecast that pubs are likely to serve just 2.6 million pints and 830,000 Christmas dinners.
This is compared to as many as 41 million pints and six million dinners that would be sold on a ‘normal' Christmas.
Kerridge said: "Now more than ever, we need additional financial support to ensure local pubs can cover their costs to survive the winter months and be there to serve their communities as soon as we are allowed to.
"We also need more clarity and certainty from government to allow us to develop survival and recovery plans for our businesses, so we are ready to play our part in the UK's much-needed economic rejuvenation."
The beer and pub sector in the UK employs a total of 900,000 people, 600,000 directly in pubs.