Government ministers are privately confident they will be able to stick to their reopening roadmap, UKHospitality’s Tony Sophoclides has told MCA.

The UKH director said in behind-closed-doors conversations, government sources remained upbeat due to better than expected take-up of the vaccine.

However, he predicted some restrictions could remain after 21 June, suggesting bar ordering would not be allowed for a few more weeks.

The comments come as The Times reported that the roadmap for easing lockdown could be delayed by two weeks to enable all over-50s to be fully vaccinated.

Sophoclides told MCA’s The Conversation, hosted by contributing editor Peter Martin: “In our communications and dialogue with government, behind closed doors, it’s actually remained pretty much the same, which is there’s a fair amount of political confidence, probably even stronger by the end of last week than at the beginning despite all the media coverage. I think it’s very much rooted in the fact that there’s a higher take up than expected of vaccines in the younger age brackets, and that’s really bolstered confidence.”

The strategic affairs director acknowledged this level of confidence could quickly change if deaths began to rise.

He described the sometimes feverish press coverage of the past week of being “everything and nothing”, as it was purely speculative.

Sophoclides said it was always the plan to wait until the 14th before confirming the next phase, but conceded that this had created a vacuum for conjecture, making it “a bit of a roller coaster”.

“Last week, we thought because of the parliamentary recess there’d be a bit of a gap in terms of substantive news, because there’s nothing on the floor of the House, but the media just took over and filled that gap.”

UKH has been inundated with enquiries about possible delays to the 21 June and staff shortages, he said.

Sophoclides predicted some residual restrictions after 21 June.

“If I had to put money in it, and I’m not really a gambling man, I would say that it will still broadly happen, the lifting of restrictions, but with probably no standing at the bar for another three or four weeks or so, and possibly some retention in some situations of facemasks,

“I think, broadly, most of it should go ahead and probably most of it will.”