CANCELLED bookings and no-shows have cost one North Hampshire pub more than £10,000 in lost bookings, according to its manager.

The landlord of The Pheasant in Highclere said they are "terrified" of what lies ahead as the number of cancellations has spiked over concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

Billy told the Advertiser she and her partner Ryan, the head chef at the venue, were having "sleepless nights".

In a frank post to social media, Billy asked customers to consider the impact their cancellations were having on independent businesses.

She wrote: "Our feed at the moment seems to be full of loo roll memes, pictures of empty supermarket shelves, hand washing infographics and a lot of moaning about Boris.

"Amidst all of this, We’ve seen absolutely nothing about the impact Covid-19 is going to have on small independent businesses, particularly those providing a face to face service - like us, your local pub.

"To put it into context, in the last four days, coronavirus has cost us £10,000 in lost bookings for this month alone, and those are the ones that I can trace specifically back to the virus as their reason for cancelling.

"Now top that off with the no shows, the very slow to no up take on future bookings and the possibility that this could go on for weeks if not months? Well that’s a pretty damn terrifying situation for anyone, let alone a small family-run business with no overdraft or borrowing facilities and despite all of this, we still have to pay our team, we still have to pay our rent, our utilities and our suppliers, to name but a few... business must carry on “like normal”.

"Trust us, we completely understand the fear, the severity of the situation and the need for people to keep themselves and their families safe. All that we ask, is that If you’re fit and healthy; maybe don’t cancel your lunch reservation and if you really do need to cancel, whether that be for a bedroom or a table, please do so with some notice. That way we can adjust our rotas... regardless of whether the online line travel agents are allowing you free last minute cancellations or not.

"Spare a thought for your small independent businesses while you’re panic buying loo roll and maybe stop into the pub for a quick pint on your way home."

"These small steps will be the difference between us, your best mates hair salon and village shop actually being open after this is all over."

The post was shared dozens of times with customers commenting to share their support. The next day, Billy said she was left "teary" after more customers turned up.

Billy said: "We don’t have the same safety net as larger companies do. I just wanted to remind people that while they are supporting Amazon and Tesco with their huge hoards of loo roll, your local independent businesses are struggling to make ends meet."

Speaking to the Advertiser, Billy said 70 per cent of room bookings from April to September were abroad visits.

She said: "The no shows are another level too. We've been ringing up bookings to check they are still coming. We had one table of 13 turn around and say: 'Oh yes, we'll be cancelling because of the virus'. I wondered at what point they were going to let us know."