Around 700 village pubs are reported to have closed down in connection with the introduction of a law on electronic cash registers at the start of December.

The pubs closing down generally offer beer, but not food, and serve as social hubs in small villages. The mayors of many small villages say they fear for the fate of small mixed shops which are often the only source of groceries for the locals.

Plzensky Prazdroj said hundreds of pub customers have stopped ordering kegs, indicating that at least some were closing.

“The project is a success if only because it levels the business environment,” Babiš told Lon Thursday. “EET will instantly straighten wages in the restaurant business.”

“EET” is just another hit. Nobody in the business, perhaps apart from large hotels, has been declaring full revenue,” one restaurant owner from the east of the country. He is closing his business. “People I know are raising prices by about 10 percent,” he added.

The “EET” system requires outlets to report every transaction online and print out a receipt that can be matched against its transaction database, a project to curb tax evasion.