The government's advice to the public to avoid pubs is going to have a devastating effect on the industry, the chairman of CAMRA has said.

Concerns have been raised about the impact it will have on the pub and brewing industry if people are advised to stay away to avoid spreading coronavirus.

The government has been criticised for not supporting pubs and leaving them in a position where customers will abandon them.

CAMRA's National Chairman Nik Antona said: "Pubs are at the heart of many communities and often provide other vital services. The advice from the government for people to avoid pubs will have a devastating effect on the pub and brewing industry, the many millions of people it employs and the huge contribution it makes to local and national economies.

"The lack of decisive instruction from the government leaves pubs in a limbo where customers will abandon them, but they'll be unable to claim insurance or other support to help them survive. The government has not defined how long people should stay away from pubs, but be in no doubt, within a short time many pubs and breweries will close and never reopen to serve their communities.

"If the Government believes people should not go to pubs, it needs to show leadership by clearly telling pubs to close their doors – and not unfairly leave it up to licensees to make an impossible decision. 

"We'd also call on pub companies to support their tenants by giving them a rent holiday during the crisis and particularly during any forced closure. Other suppliers such as sports TV providers could also demonstrate their support of the pub industry by giving a payment holiday."

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: "This is catastrophic for businesses and jobs. The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.

"Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.

"The government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people's jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it's in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.

"We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures."