CHEFS, landlords and small business owners have hit out after Boris Johnson's advised people to avoid restaurants, bars and cafes - without lending support to operators.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his daily briefing on Monday to urge Britons to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres and stop non-essential travel in a bid to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.

The need for "drastic action to tackle the fast growth" of the coronavirus included asking all people to avoid gatherings and crowded places and unnecessary travel.

Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks, from Oldstead, North Yorkshire, took to social media to highlight the state of anxiety the announcement had caused.

He tweeted: "There are 3,000,000 Hospitality workers waiting to see how you are going to support our industry @BorisJohnson. Your statement yesterday was ill conceived and has left the people that you serve vulnerable and scared. We need to hear you plan!"

In another tweet, which was shared numerous times by supporters, he added: "We employ 75 people and they need answers. You have told our guests not to come but without your support have left us with no option but to continue trading."

"We wait anxiously to see what you have for us. Are you going to provide us with the same support that other coutnries have proivided their hospitalty industry? I think I speak for everyone here. We are all waiting!"York restaurant owner Oscar Akgul, who has just invested £800,000 in refurbishing Lucia Wine Bar & Grill, Swinegate, York, told The Press: "Boris's statement with no back-up plan was a disaster. 

"Simply asking public not to go pubs and restaurants was a rookie action. This at the end will lead to huge unemployment and closures."York Press:

Oscar Akgul, of Lucia's Picture: Frank Dwyer

Oscar, who employs about 100 in the city at Lucia's and his other restaurant, the Cut and Craft Steak House, added: "Let’s see how it will develop. It’s obviously not good but we will try to stay open and continue to support our employees, community and our business. 

"Our government should have put an efficient plan in place before making such statements."

Yorkshire chef Matt Healy, a runner-up in Masterchef: The Professionals in 2016 who creates the menu at vegan-friendly Grön cafe in Low Petergate, has also urged Boris Johnson and Government to support the UK's hospitality industry through the Coronavirus crisis.

Bettys has already closed its tea rooms temporarily following yesterday’s Government advice about social venues.

The company, which has two tea rooms in York - in St Helen's Square and in Stonegate - issued a statement saying it has closed its six cafés and Bettys Cookery School.

York Press:

York Retail Forum chairman Phil Pinder who also sits on the board of York BID, told the Press: "We don't know how long this will last. Yesterday's update probably caused more panic than anything. That's not helpful. If you are going to spread fear and panic that's not good leadership."

He said the advice to avoid restaurants, cafes, theatres and bars was "ridiculous".

"Schools are still open but people can't go out. He is not telling the full picture. You can't just say don't go into restaurants and bars. You need to close them so people can claim on their insurance."

He said: "The Government is in chaos. The whole situation is a mess."

He also called on City of York Council to highlight what measures they were taking to support businesses in the city, and called for parking fees to be scrapped temporarily.

"People are avoiding public transport - so I think they should suspend all car parking charges."

He also called on City of York Council to give more regular feedback on what it was doing to support businesses, similar to the daily briefings being given y the government.

"That's what we need from the council, from the leader."

Phil who is also chair of Shambles Traders Association said his own shop - Potions Cauldron - was cleaned rigorously, but they had stepped that up further and were encouraging contactless payments to avoid hand contact where possible.

"We are staying open. There's no message for shops to close. We have already borrowed more money to see us through."

Phil said they had some orders to deliver from big customers and were hopeful those would still go ahead or the consequence would be very serious.

"In business you are never more than a month away from closing. If you lose a month's trade that will finish most businesses. We need more support, we need it soon and we need it fast."

More information and advice was necessary from the authorities, he said.

"I have hundreds of angry retailers and business owners looking to me for answers but no one is communicating the message to me."

He said the city centre was resembling scenes usually found o Christmas Day or Boxing Day, without many people on the streets and "only a handful of cars" in the car parks.

Andrew Digwood, president of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s now very obvious that businesses across all sectors and across the country will be hit hard, and especially in this first half of the year.

"The immediate impact on hospitality, leisure and retail is clear, but there will also be knock-on effects in the supply chain. "It’s becoming very obvious that Government assistance will be needed to ensure the economy in general doesn’t go into free-fall but what those interventions might be is unclear.

"Certainly some help in the immediate term to support cashflow for affected businesses would be one approach that I think would be welcome.

"However, as has become clear, this is a worldwide problem not just a local one, and the priority has to be getting the spread of the virus under control so far as possible, and the quicker that’s done the faster the economy can, I hope, pick up in the months ahead.

"We are clearly in unprecedented times though, and our thoughts are with those businesses and individuals affected and impacted by COVID-19.

"The Chamber is recommending that businesses follow the government advice available online. Further information is also available through the British Chambers of Commerce, and information is available at”

There is also great concern within the pub trade.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said: "The severity of the COVID-19 crisis is now impacting on pubs with devastating effect. The very existence of thousands of pubs and a lot more jobs is now at risk.

"The government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.

"Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever."

Following the announcement by the government on Monday that social contact should be avoided, including visits to social venues such as theatres, pubs and clubs, the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York decided to close, while York Theatre Royal revealed on Twitter earlier today that it will be closing today and will remain so until April 11.