Businesses across Maldon have said that Tier 3 restrictions will be "financially disastrous" for high street business.

Hospitality venues must close tomorrow after the Government announced Maldon would be among the areas in Essex moving to Tier 3.

Allison Gray, chair of Maldon Business Board and owner of Willow and Fox, said she is staying "positive" after receiving some "amazing public support" over the past few weeks.

She said: "The news of Tier 3 is tragic for hospitality businesses. Whilst I don't believe it's a shock that we have got to this stage, I do believe it has come earlier than expected.

"If only the food and drink establishments could have seen it through the festive period.

"Many of our local High St businesses have spent a fortune on outside cover, from gondola's to igloo's to huge marquee's and heaters.

"As for the rest of the high street, it's a waiting game to see if we attract the business we need to get us through. As the owner of a boutique myself, I am feeling positive.

"The public support has been amazing and we have had great footfall and it's not just about making an income, it's been so lovely to see friendly faces, put the Christmas music on and have chats with local people and feel festive."

Popular tea rooms Mrs Salisbury said the news is "financially disastrous".

Charlie Goss said: "As a business, closing ahead of our busiest week of the year is financially disastrous.

"2020 has been a rollercoaster journey and this last blow certainly feels like hospitality has been singled out.

"The restrictions our team have had to work with have been extremely difficult, we are endlessly grateful for how hard they’ve worked to allow our guests to enjoy Mrs Salisbury’s this year, they are heroes in their own right."

Hayley Wright from Serendipity Tearoom said: "It has been such a hard year for the independent businesses as we don't have the security the bigger chains have.

"It is also extremely hard for some of our regulars as for some, we were the only source of interaction they have.

"This second shut down will be extremely difficult for us financially.

We are a new business to the high street, we still have our overheads to cover.

"We will carry on as long as we can and will continue to operate with takeaway and delivery services, but it will be a very difficult end to the year for us, like so many other businesses in the high street."

Gary and Jackie from the Maldon Swan said they will be forced to lose a lot of their fresh produce.

They said: "Well firstly it's devastating news for us. We have had enormous costs setting up to make our property covid safe and then the hire of the marquee on top of that.

"We lose all of our fresh produce, fish, meat and beer going out of date in the cellar.

"This is the third time we have had to endure this and this time on very short notice. December is typically a very busy month for us and this gets us through the very quiet months of January and February, we have obviously lost this.

"The hospitality industry opened on 4th July, the figures remained steady and only started to spike in mid September, when the schools and universities opened. We struggle to see how we can be blamed for the rising figures."

"One of Maldons attributes is it's quaint High Street, the pubs and restaurants are a part of this, we wonder how many will be able to continue to trade after this is all over."