Concerns about the reopening of indoor hospitality from members of government advisory committee Sage have been criticised as “incredibly damaging” by Kate Nicholls.

The UKHospitality leader called for greater discipline from the government, considering how much the comments could harm confidence among returning customers, staff and investors.

Sage member Sir Jeremy Farrar told the BBC he would personally restrict indoor gatherings, while other independent government advisors expressed misgivings about returning indoors.

Nicholls told MCA’s The Conversation the research cited by the Sage committee member was “poorly drafted… poorly researched” and missing the mitigating measures that have been taken to make hospitality venues safe.

She said: “You have the old tropes of poorly ventilated, crowded, noisy venues, and you have to wonder when was the last time a Sage member set foot in one of our modern hospitality venues or even considered what we’ve been doing.

“At the moment the biggest damage is confidence. It’s not just to consumers, we know that there’s a proportion of consumers that are nervous about coming back to hospitality at all, but also that uncertainty, the lack of confidence feeds through to people we are trying to recruit to our teams that we’re trying to bring back, we’re trying to get money from to the investors, and to our landlords we’re trying to do rent deals with.

“The biggest thing that the government can do is try and build up that confidence, and this is not what we needed at this point in the in the reopening cycle.”