D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena has said the hospitality industry is not getting anything intelligible back from government, describing the dialogue as “very, very frustrating”.

Speaking on MCA’s The Conversation, Gunewardena pained a picture of an aloof, disengaged administration, “sitting in smoke-filled rooms and coming up with what they believe is the right thing”.

The D&D boss said with the vaccine the only thing that had gone well for the country during the pandemic, there was a strong case to be made for an earlier reopening.

In conversation with MCA’s contributing editor Peter Martin, Gunewardena said with 15m of the most vulnerable vaccinated, there should be a dramatic reduction in the pressure on hospitals and deaths.

He said: “Now, in that situation I am struggling with everything supposedly going really well on the vaccine, why we can’t reopen our restaurants that Easter.

“By Easter we should have had a dramatic reduction in the perception of how bad covid is going to be in terms of impact on hospitals. I’m just trying to get my head around why we’re being told by the government that it may not be until May that we’re out to be open.”

Gunewardena said anxiety in industry over reopening dates was because there was insufficient compensation in the UK, with millions of pounds of cash being burned during lockdown.

He added: “I can tell you there’s far more angst in the UK than there is in the other two countries which we trade, the US and in France, because in the US and France, we’re effectively being compensated for the period that we’re will be closed.

“We are not here, every month we’re closed is costing our business £1.5m, which is a huge amount of money. Moving the date from April to May has a huge impact. It would be different if the government said okay, we’re moving the date, but don’t worry guys, we’ll compensate you. But they’re not, and that is a very big difference between what the government is doing here, what government is doing in the other countries.”