A ‘trade-off’ closure of pubs to allow schools to reopen would lead to many landlords going out of business, according to a local CAMRA group.

It comes after chief medical officer’s Professor Chris Witty’s remarks on Friday that the country was “near the limit” for opening up society following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Experts have speculated ministers may have to order the closure of pubs, if schools are to reopen fully. Speculation intensified when Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said a “trade off” could be needed if the Prime Minister is to honour his pledge that “every child” will be back in school by September.

Vast swathes of the hospitality industry were given the green light to reopen on July 4 as the Government eased a wide range of restrictions. The prospect of further enforced closure has left many landlords in Cumbria fearing the worst.

A spokesman for the Solway branch of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said: “It would be absolutely devastating. You can’t turn on and off production of beer.

"It may be okay for big companies making cask ales, but for the smaller producers it would put many out of business. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of beer had to be poured away at the start of lockdown.”

The spokesman said pubs and breweries are just getting by.

“I expect it would not take much (for businesses to go under). It would be just like getting flooded a second time where people think, ‘I’ve been through it once’ and will think they’ve had enough.

“Most of our pubs are on the cusp of viability. They are operating at 70 per cent and only getting 40 per cent.

“A further shutdown would close a lot of pubs, but I don’t think they will do it. I believe the Government will go for more localised restrictions.”

One pub owner, who runs her own brewery too, is also tentative about the future.

“Without support, it would decimate the hospitality industry,” explained Alison Davis, landlady at the Spinners Arms in Cummersdale.

“As an industry that employs so many people, it is very worrying. We are just taking it week-by-week and not trying to plan ahead.

“The impact would be massive. Our income is based on the brewery and the pub and without Government support and no money coming in, we’d have no money to pay anybody else.

“As a small village pub we depended on offering takeaways, that is what got us through lockdown.

“So if we were told we were not allowed to do anything, it would be massively difficult.”

Alison worries for the future of those businesses that don’t have the capability to offer a takeaway service.

Mike Grierson, landlord of the Royal Scot pub in Scotby, is equally worried. He said: “It would come down to support from the brewery.”

“We would have to see where we are with the brewery with rent and things like that.”`

Ruth Seggie, landlady at The Howard Arms Hotel said: “We were closed for 14 weeks and now we’ve been open for four weeks. If we were to close again, it would have a massive impact.”

Ruth agreed their future would depend on the support from the Government and breweries.