A HARDWORKING hotel and restaurant owner has slammed the Prime Minister after he advised members of the public to avoid the hospitality sector.

Jason Smedley, from Clacton, runs the Royal Hotel, in Marine Parade East, in addition to the My Big Fat Greek Taverna restaurant and the All That Jazz Beauty Bar.

On Monday evening, Boris Johnson addressed the nation as part of his daily press conferences in which he outlines plans to tackle the coronavirus.

During the lengthy broadcast, the Prime Minister advised the public to avoid visiting restaurants, pubs and theatres, and to exercise social distancing.

But Mr Smedley believes this will be severely detrimental to the hospitality industry and says any advice or action should be rolled-out on a town-by-town basis.

“The government is meaningless and cowardly – if you have a plan, then do it, and back it up with support packages,” he said.

“There are zero cases in Colchester or Clacton, so everything should be on a town-by-town basis but there should also be a back-up in place to be immediately ready.”

Despite telling pub-goers and those who like to eat out to avoid their favourite haunts, Boris Johnson has yet to officially shutdown the hospitality sector himself.

According to Mr Smedley, this will make it incredibly difficult for businesses to replenish losses as insurance claims are unlikely to stand up and footfall will diminish.

He said: ‘‘My businesses will struggle 100 per cent – I employ between 80 and 100 people and this will all have a knock-on effect.

“There is no contingency plan and we are just watching everyone put their heads in the sand and this whole thing just stinks.

“This could literally end local businesses within the hospitality sector.”

Since Monday, Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, have announced plans to offer grants for eligible businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The Royal Hotel has also now decided to send any spare toilet rolls to the town’s elderly and vulnerable residents should the hotel see a decline in guests.