Reading’s iconic nightclub, After Dark, will remain closed until 2023 due to Covid uncertainty.

Owner Zahid Khan said the hospitality industry has been ‘smashed’ by the virus and so far Government assistance was akin to “p***ing in the wind.”

Closed since March 2020, the London Street nightclub's owners have been using the time to modernize its facilities and make repairs.

“Hundreds of thousands of pounds have gone, it’s a real disaster,” said Mr Khan.

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”We just find it’s more reliable to [remain closed] for this period, which we expect to be around three years from the start.

“That’s how long we expect it to be before things are really under control and emotionally people are back to where they need to be”

The Government announced on Tuesday that hospitality and leisure businesses could apply for a one-off £6,000 grant to help mitigate the effects of Omicron.

“Although it’s welcome the hospitality industry really is smashed and excuse my language but it’s a bit like p***ing in the wind.”

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He added: “I mean really a lot of premises would turn that over in one weekend.”

Music Venue Trust, a charity which provides guidance, finance and legal advice to venues like After Dark, said the Treasury’s announcement was “woefully inadequate.”

“This sum is intended to mitigate losses for an as yet unknown period in which business has not just fallen, it has completely collapsed.

“The minimum length of that period, regardless of any restrictions or limitations to business yet to be announced, is six weeks - you can't simply turn the live music industry on and off like a desk lamp, and tours and events are already cancelled.”

Announcing the measures, which include covering Covid-19 related Statutory Sick Pay, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time.

“So we’re stepping in with £1 billion of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.”

Another £30 million was made available through the Culture Recovery Fund.