SMALL business owners could be at risk of losing their homes as hospitality venues are hit hard by new Covid rules, a restaurant boss has warned.

Steve Haslam, director of TLC Inns which runs Burger Bratts, in Basildon, and various other Essex restaurants criticised the move into the “death tier”.

This is because it prevents friends meeting up.

He said: “Big businesses will be losing value in their shares while smaller firm bosses will lose their homes and the Government must step in and stop banks taking family homes.

“Hospitality bosses are better off being in the ‘very high’ category as the one we’re in is the same without any financial help.

“For Essex and other places the industry it’s a desperately bad time and I think we will see lots of venues fall into desperate trouble.

“With the industry there are venues people go with friends to catch up and now we can’t do that.”

The 55-year-old added: “It’s the final blow for consumer confidence and many firms and venues.”

Mr Haslam urged the Government to give more support to the hospitality industry.

An addition to the furlough scheme begins next month, which will see employees who can continue up to work two-thirds of their hours having their wages topped up.

But it has been widely criticised by the hospitality sector.