Only a third of licensed venues reopened for outdoor trading last month, leaving two thirds (67.1%) closed, according to CGA and AlixPartners’ latest Market Recovery Monitor.

Just under a third (32.9%) of all licensed premises have traded since 12 April this year, with around 35,000 sites welcoming guests for outdoor opening, with hospitality venues now able to open their doors to indoor trading from today.

Around half (49%) of all food pubs and more than a third of community pubs (38.7%) reopened last month, compared to 29.2% of casual dining restaurants and only 16.6% of other restaurants.

Major cities, such as Leeds (41.7%), Newcastle (37.9%) and Manchester (37.3%) saw stronger reopening rates, with numbers lower in London (29.1).

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Pubs, bars and restaurants with the space to trade have returned confidently since mid-April. Consumers’ enthusiasm, decent April weather and the opening up of street-side space by some enlightened local authorities have all worked in their favour, and encouraged more venues to open up in the weeks since.

“But the fact remains that more than two thirds of Britain’s licensed premises were still unable able to welcome guests, and thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants have been closed for good during the pandemic.

Graeme Smith, AlixPartners’ managing director, added: “The progression to indoor reopening marks an important moment for hospitality and some welcome light at the end of what’s been a long, dark tunnel. Profitability in the sector remains a concern, however, and there is a bumpy road to recovery ahead.

“The big test will be to see how many sites open their doors from Monday 17 May as we expect all those who will reopen to do so on that date, other than some city centre sites reliant on office workers. This may provide the best indication as to the level of permanent closures caused by the lockdown restrictions.”

The number of licensed premises has declined by 7.4% – equivalent to 8,560 sites – since March last year.