The hospitality industry is able to open its doors to indoor trading from today, however health experts have suggested consumers ignore the easing of restrictions in light of the emergence of the Indian variant.

A former government chief scientific adviser, a leading public health specialist and the union representing Britain’s doctors have all urged the public to stick to meeting outdoors to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the variant, according to a report by The Guardian.

Interviewed on Sky News Prof Sir Mark Walport, a former director of the Wellcome Trust and a chief scientific adviser until 2017, said the public should be cautious. “My personal judgement is that I will do things outside as far as possible,” he said. “My advice is that just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”

The British Medical Association has also recommended that people keep to meeting outside for the time being.

During a press conference by the Prime Minister last week, remarks were made about the potential slippage of the 21 June roadmap date, due to the increase in cases caused by the Indian variant, in certain parts of the country.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality, commented: “The Prime Minister’s statement has introduced an element of doubt surrounding the dropping of restrictions on 21 June. The situation will clearly be closely monitored but should the roadmap timings slip, it is vital financial supports are forthcoming, and that business rates are postponed until October.

“Businesses need a swift, publicly stated commitment that such supports would be in place in the event of a delay to Step 4, to give venues some reassurance as they look toward the challenges of viable trading.”