The hospitality industry could lose thousands of jobs without urgent state help to get through the coronavirus pandemic, it has been warned.

Pubs and restaurant owners are calling for immediate action to support the industry financially after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people not to go out but stopped short of ordering entertainment venues to close.

The British Beer and Pub Association has written to Mr Johnson, demanding urgent steps are taken to prevent mass job losses and permanent pub closures.

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It follows the Government issuing new advice for people to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "The UK pub and brewing industry is tonight facing an existential crisis as a direct result of the guidance issued by the Government today.

"Thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the very short term unless a proactive package creating cash and liquidity is provided immediately to the industry.

"Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact."

The letter calls for the Government to cancel all business rates payments for six months, as well as all tax payments including PAYE, VAT and corporation tax for pubs and hospitality businesses.

Catering giant Compass has warned over a coronavirus hit of up to £225 million on half-year earnings as schools close and events are cancelled worldwide due to the outbreak.

Shares in the firm - the world's largest catering company - tumbled 16% as it said the "vast majority" of its sports and leisure and education catering services had been closed across continental Europe and North America.

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Sales volumes across the business and industry division have also been severely affected, it added.

While Compass is launching "significant" cost savings initiatives, it warned that first-half operating profits would be £125 million to £225 million lower than expected.

The group supplies meals for office workers, school children and the armed forces.

Its alert comes after the firm had already cautioned in February over a potential currency impact of up to £745 million on full-year earnings.

The group said at the time that cost-cutting was offsetting lower catering demand among business and industry clients in Europe.

Compass is axing up to 4,000 jobs over the next two years amid the worsening outlook in Europe and Brexit uncertainty.

Greg Johnson, analyst at Shore Capital, said: "Assuming these trends continue through the third quarter (to end June), we estimate revenues could be impacted by around £2 billion and operating profit by a further £550 million."

He added: "We have to believe that the impact on its sports and leisure operations, along with education are temporary... meaning we would expect a significant recovery as and when containment measures are wound down.

"Longer term, a recessionary impact may be felt across its operations, whilst changes in working practices may adjust, further depressing growth, although the opportunities for new contact wins are likely to increase from the likely fallout."

The owner of travel money firm Travelex has hired accountants to prepare for possible insolvency a day after it found undisclosed cheques worth $100 million (£81 million).

Finablr, which is listed on the FTSE 250, said it is speaking to lenders, but has hired experts in case the talks fail.

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It said: "Following the announcement on 16 March 2020 with respect to Finablr's present liquidity situation and ongoing discussions with its lending banks, the board of Finablr has engaged an accounting firm to undertake rapid contingency planning for a potential insolvency appointment with a view to maximising value in the group."

Shares in the firm were suspended on Monday as the foreign exchange company said the cheques could have been "security for financing arrangements for the benefit of third parties".

Travelex was earlier hit by a major cyber attack.