PUB bosses have confirmed our worst fear – pubs may not be able to open if social distancing guidelines are maintained.

The Railway Pub in Southend, has revealed that the pub will not be opening if the two-metre distancing guidelines are not altered.

James Vessey-Miller, the manager of the Clifftown Road pub, told the Echo his two-floored venue, which can hold around 350 people, will not open because of safety concerns for staff and customers.

Mr Vessey-Miller also revealed the pub has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with a food takeaway service launched in a bid to keep the business afloat.

This comes as the chief executive of Adnams, the Suffolk based brewery, warned pubs may go bankrupt if the distancing measures are kept in place.

Andy Wood said the two-metre social distancing rule will make it “very difficult” for pubs to operate and suggested a reduction to one metre as long as it does not come at the expense of people’s safety.

James Vessey-Miller said: ‘It’s impossible for me open my pub if punters are two metres apart.

“We’ve been trying to work out how we would do it. There simply isn’t a way, even for a large pub like us.

“Even if we opened the garden up to twenty people, we would need staff bringing them food and they would need to come and pay at the bar for drinks.

“We’re going to be relying heavily on the new takeaway service.

“We’re having to seriously consider ways in which we can make sure we’re open when lockdown is fully lifted.

“The loss in footfall would have a dramatic and potentially terminal impact on the tight sales margins of pubs like ours.

The pub’s takeaway service will launch from Friday, and orders will be delivered.

Customers will be able to order online via Deliveroo now and on JustEat from next week, with the menu also available on the pub’s website.

Andy Wood told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One programme last week: “Clearly there’s one part of us that would like to see the two-metre distance rule reduced but that cannot be at the expense of the safety of customers, of communities and staff.

“So at the end of the day we’ve got to go with the health advice.”