Marston’s CEO Ralph Findlay has said he expects the pub group will reopen 80-85% of its 1,400 pubs from July 4.

He told PA: “I welcome the news. If two-metre distancing had stayed in place we would have only been able to reopen around 25% of our pubs.

“This is a positive step, but I think there is also now a case for some kind of stimulus to help consumer spending.

“Personally, I feel a VAT cut, which has been touted, would work.”

He also said he was “concerned” by speculation that pub customers might have to register their names at the bar.

“Our pubs will meet the latest guidelines and we will ensure table-spacing, masks for staff, and other precautions,” Findlay added.

Wetherspoons’ chairman Tim Martin welcomed the reopening move.

He said: “We are extremely pleased that pubs are reopening on July 4 after a long hiatus.

Meanwhile, Rob Pitcher, CEO at Revolution Bars, said it will reopen 10% of sites on July 4 but he does not expect these to be profitable with current restrictions in place.

He said: “We don’t think it will really be profitable for us, but it is important for us to test our procedures and safety protocols, and gauge demand more as well.

“We’ve had very high levels of bookings so we are confident things are pulling in the right direct.”