PUB bosses say a 10pm curfew announced by PM Boris Johnson yesterday will only encourage revellers to hold large illegal house parties and gatherings.

From tomorrow, all pubs, restaurants and bars have to close by 10pm as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The rule could be in place for up to six months.

But Southend pub bosses say it will lead to a surge in illegal house parties and raves.

Giovanna Corallini, manager of the Cricketers, in Westcliff, said: “We hope our pub’s not badly affected. I think young people especially will want to go out and will want to stay home to have parties.

“They could think they’d rather stay at home and have big groups of people and party all night long, instead of go to the pub.”

The 18-year-old added: “We hope our trade isn’t too badly impacted but think pubs in Southend town centre with younger clients could be hit harder by these restrictions.”

Joan Tiney, 70, of The Borough Hotel, on Southend seafront, added: “This will affect our trade quite a bit – we’ve been staying open until about 12.30am on weekends so this will mean a few hours less trade for us. We are not pleased about it but we’re just glad that we’re not shut completely as we expected that would happen.

“I think pubs will take a hit but they are more controlled environments – and we are strict and don’t allow people at the bars and have fewer customers in too.

“If pubs shut, people could go to someone’s house and have a big gathering. I think people will have big parties after leaving the pubs.”

The PM’s plan came after the UK’s coronavirus alert level was increased from three to four –the first increase since the alert system was introduced – which means ‘transmission is high or rising exponentially’.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.

“And to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount.

“In retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.”

The announcement comes as the PM warned that daily deaths from Covid-19 would increase unless action is taken.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “In the last fortnight daily hospital admissions in England have more than doubled.

“Tens of thousands of daily infections in October would, as night follows day, lead to hundreds of daily deaths in November and those numbers would continue to grow unless we act.”

He added people working in retail, those travelling in taxis, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except while seated at a table to eat or drink would have to wear face coverings.