A PUB owner is urging the Government to impose an alcohol ban in shops amid fears he will not be able to trade again until after Christmas.

Ciano Rebecchi closed the Burns Lounge in Greenock, Inverclyde, in March as nationwide lockdown restrictions were rolled out across the UK, closing non-essential businesses.

He fears that the hospitality sector is being unfairly targeted by the Scottish Government and while pubs are closed, illegal house parties are thriving.

He is now calling for restricted hours for alcohol sales.

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Mr Rebecchi and his wife Diane are members of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which is launching a legal challenge to the closures of pubs.

Mr Rebecchi said: "There was a meeting before the latest round of restrictions with Fergus Ewing the cabinet secretary and he told our association that 25 per cent of the problem was coming from licensed premises.

"I think supermarkets and off-sales sections should have restricted hours.

“This would curtail house parties, which are causing most of the upsurge according to the Scottish Government."

Despite investing time and money into fitting his pub with all the required safety measures, Mr Rebecchi says he will only be able to accommodate 20 people when allowed to re-open.

He said: “We are hoping to open again, but I don’t think it will be before Christmas.”

Diane said: “We still have to pay all our normal outgoings and insurance, with nothing coming in for eight months now.

“It’s not consistent.

“The figures are still going up even though all licensed premises who’d re-opened have been closed for two weeks.

“Where is the logic in what they are doing?”

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association and four other hospitality industry bodies have launched a legal challenge against the Scottish Government over the controversial restrictions.

The government was served with a pre-action letter at the end of last week.

The trade associations say they will pursue a judicial review if their concerns are not addressed properly.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that under new rules, pubs and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol from next week.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon reveals provisional coronavirus rules for different parts of Scotland

The move will allow licensed premises in level two of the new five-tier system to serve alcohol with a meal until 8pm.

However, in level three areas - which is likely to be much of the Central Belt including Inverclyde - they will be allowed to re-open until 6pm but not serve alcohol.

In response to a pre-action letter from hospitality groups calling for a review of restrictions on the industry, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland’s hospitality industry has faced unimaginable challenges this year and we have worked hard to provide critical support to the industry.

“We are doing everything we can with the powers we have to help businesses, offering support which now exceeds £2.3 billion, including 100% rates relief for pubs and restaurants for the year.

“We are confident the temporary restrictions are essential and proportionate to the risk posed by Covid-19 if we are to prevent a return to the dangerous level of infections experienced earlier this year.”