Government ministers have identified June 22 as the date they hope to reopen England’s pubs and restaurants for outdoor service, amid fears of mass job losses if the hospitality sector misses out on the summer season, the Financial Times reports. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is part of a ministerial taskforce, called ‘save summer six’, looking to fast track the reopening of the economy ahead of the official date of July 4.

Meanwhile business secretary Alok Sharma has been asked by Boris Johnson to make the case for cutting Britain’s two metre social distancing rule to one metre, to allow for more customers to be served in commercial premises.

Robert Jenrick, housing and local government secretary, is reviewing planning rules to make it easier for pubs and bars to use outdoor areas.

Some scientists are worried that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is lifting lockdown too early, risking a resurgence of coronavirus infections, but the PM is now convinced that the economy is facing a cliff-edge unless it starts to reopen.

Sunak is among those who would like to see a full reopening of pubs and restaurants before July 4, with social distancing rules in place.

Pub and restaurant operators have warned that reopening under the current two metre guidance will reduce capacity to such an extent that their businesses will not be viable regardless.