The coronavirus curfew is "another crushing blow" for hospitality businesses, according to the sector's leading trade association.

Boris Johnson is set to announce a new order forcing pubs, bars and restaurants in England to close by 10pm from Thursday.

The Prime Minister will address the nation on Tuesday evening to outline new measures to tackle the sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

As well as the curfew, the hospitality sector will be restricted by law to table service only.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said it is crucial the new restrictions "are applied with flexibility" with many in the sector struggling to recover from lockdown.

Hospitality firms have invested heavily making venues Covid-secure

"A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus - we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period," she continued.

Ms Nicholls said table service has been widely adopted in much of the sector since initial pandemic restrictions were eased and it is "not necessary across businesses", including coffee shops.

"It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5% of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.

Sector bosses are worried pubs and restaurants will struggle well into 2021

"Where such restrictions have been put in place locally they have not cut infection rates, merely damaged business and cost jobs."

Ms Nicholls said "most critically" Downing Street needs to recognise such measures will only serve to "damage confidence even further", resulting in the struggling "long into 2021".

"A new support package is now essential. We need to see an early signal that the VAT cut will be extended through to the end of 2021.

Boris Johnson is set to outline the new restrictions on Tuesday

"That the business rates holiday will continue next year; and an enhanced employment support package specifically for hospitality."

She went on to say the sector agrees with the Government that "we are all in this together" and "hospitality has played its part" by investing in making venues Covid-secure.

"Now, it’s time for Government to demonstrate its commitment to the sector and its recovery - hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend upon it," she added.

A Medical worker takes a swap at a coronavirus drive-through testing centre

Mr Johnson will chair meetings of Cabinet and the Cobra emergency committee - including the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - ahead of a live, televised address at 8pm on Tuesday.

He is expected to set out further ways the country can confront coronavirus in line with the scientific advice.

It comes after the UK's four chief medical officers recommended raising the Covid alert level from three to four - the second highest - indicating the "epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially".

Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance has warned drastic action is needed

And earlier on Monday, Sir Patrick Vallance - the chief scientific adviser - said the UK could see 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day by mid-October and a daily death toll of 200 or more a month later unless urgent action is taken.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: "No-one underestimates the challenges the new measures will pose to many individuals and businesses.

"We know this won't be easy, but we must take further action to control the resurgence in cases of the virus and protect the NHS."

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association said the curfew will lead to the "demise of many of our beloved cultural and entertainment venues".

He said the night-time economy is "shocked and disappointed" by the Government's "continued targeting of restrictions on late-night venues".

Mr Kill said the new measure will only lead to a surge in "unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot beds of infection".

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, added the hospitality curfew "seems to have emerged from a random policy generator".

"The Government should publish the evidence upon which this decision was based," he said.