THE owner of a Southend micropub has sent an impassioned letter to his MP pleading with him to vote against Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions for Essex.

Mark Mawson, owner of Mawson's Micropub and George's Brewery in Southchurch Road, Southend, told MP James Duddridge the restrictions would have a devastating impact on his business.

In Tier 2, pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

However, Mr Mawson said his business was “not geared as food outlets”.

He told Mr Duddridge, Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East: “I cannot fathom how we can come out of a lockdown during which no pubs were allowed to be open and to effectively take the blame for a rise in infection rates.

“If the infection rates have risen here (or anywhere in the UK for that matter), surely it is clearly proven that pubs were not at all involved in any way whatsoever by virtue of the fact they were shut.”

Mr Mawson urged Mr Duddridge to vote against the measures when the Prime Minister’s plan reaches the Commons on Tuesday.

He added: “There is not a shred of evidence that i have seen that our industry, public houses and hospitality is in any way to blame for the rises.

“I do see however that infection rates are going sky high in schools and university's but I see zero measures being taken to combat what is undoubtedly the reason for the increases in cases.

“I repeat I urge you to vote against the proposed measures because of contrary evidence for the tighter measures and restrictions on pubs leading to genuine hardship in our industry.”