Pubs cannot be expected to force customers to obey lockdown rules after Boris Johnson delayed the final step of reopening, bosses have said.

The chief executives of some of Britain’s biggest pub and bar chains said it is becoming “increasingly difficult” to police customers and prevent them from meeting in groups larger than six or attempting to order at the bar.

Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young’s, said the government is asking too much of pub workers who are already struggling to ensure customers continue to abide by Covid restrictions - a challenge made even harder by crowds during the European Football Championship.

He told The Telegraph: “People have got used to the idea of having some of their liberty back, and they want the rest of it back now.

“We have the Euros and people are getting very excited about a summer of sport, so it will be extremely difficult for the Government to keep putting a lid on it.”

Clive Watson, executive chairman of the City Pub Group which has sites across Wales and the south of England, said: “The British public have been amazingly compliant, but during the football tournament, it will be very difficult.

“If England, or Scotland or Wales progresses through the Euros, then it’s inevitable that people will want to celebrate standing up or in big groups.”

Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars, said rising vaccination rates had made it tougher to persuade young people to comply with the remaining restrictions.

He said: “It is becoming increasingly more difficult to police it. People are behaving themselves but it’s about a personal choice.

“If you’re young and have your life ahead of you, you’re largely not at risk of the virus and therefore people will feel like they’ve done their bit.”