A DARLINGTON restaurant has warned of the impact of new coronavirus restrictions which will see hospitality venues forced to close at 10pm for potentially the next six months.

Al Forno, which is on Skinnergate, said they anticipated a sharp drop in takings with the restaurant forced to close at its "busiest" once new restrictions, including a curfew on opening times, come in tomorrow.

From Thursday, all restaurants, pubs and bars in England will have to shut at 10pm under a raft of new measures that were this week announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson announces first of NEW Covid measures for England

Such venues are restricted to table-service and will only be allowed to operate takeaway delivery services beyond the 10pm curfew, which the PM has warned could remain in place for "six months".

Speaking to The Northern Echo ahead of the restrictions, Cuma Erdem, a manager at Al Forno Darlington, said: “The new restrictions will 100 per cent affect us.

"We are looking at the moment to close orders by half past 8 at the latest, but normally we get busy around this time especially on Friday and Saturday - it looks like it will kill that off."

Local lockdown-style restrictions were introduced across seven North-East areas last week including in County Durham, but no such restrictions were placed on Darlington.

READ MORE: Local lockdown restrictions for County Durham WILL NOT affect Darlington

But new restrictions that being enforced across the whole of the country, which includes new rules on face coverings, will impact the industry with devastating effects warned Mr Erdem.

He said: "Once Eat Out to Help Out finished, we went from 300 to 400 covers a day to just 30 a day.

"People have had enough and they are staying home across the industry and now we see the bad side of things.

"It’s going to be bad for the industry, nobody can say they are doing good at the moment.

“There are now rules on face coverings and masks so that when people come in they have to wear face coverings, when they stand up they have to wear a face covering."

Under new restrictions, those working and dining in indoor hospitality settings will need to wear face coverings except while seated at a table.

Mr Erdem said: "We don’t know what will happen, it’s affecting everybody.

"It’s going to be bad for the industry, nobody can say they are doing good at the moment.

"Every body has to keep an eye on the rules, which we are making sure we do to keep our staff and customers safe."

Mr Erdem said the industry would benefit from a support package which could help plug some of the lost income from early closure.

This comes as Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night-Time Industries Association, said the 10pm closures were a “devastating” blow for the industry.

He said: “This curfew will lead to the demise of many of our most beloved cultural and entertainment venues.

“Businesses in the night-time economy are both shocked and disappointed by the Government’s continued targeting of restrictions on late-night venues and bars, partially open at a fraction of their capacity, when they have admitted that the majority of transmission takes place in households.

“As a result of this measure, we foresee a surge of unregulated events and house parties which are the real hot beds of infection, attended by frustrated young people denied access to safe and legitimate night-time hospitality venues," he added.