Sixty percent of pubs – approximately 29,000 – would remain closed if the government were to permit outdoor-only service from April.

Commenting on speculation about government proposals for the reopening of hospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the majority of pubs in the UK either have no outdoor space or do not have a big enough garden to warrant opening for customers without opening indoors as well.

While around 75% of UK pubs have a beer garden or some outside space, only 40% are big enough to warrant opening for outdoor-only custom, it said.

It called for pubs to be allowed to reopen fully at the same time as non-essential retail.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “If pubs do open outdoors only in April – we believe just 17% of UK pub capacity will actually open. This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5 billion when compared to trading in normal times. That is far from reopening and recovering.

“Even if some pubs did try and open outdoors only in April, all it would take is some heavy rain and they would find it has all been for nothing,” she added. “For many pubs, gardens are at the back and the only way to access them is through the inside. And of course, toilet facilities would still need to be provided.

“We question the government’s thinking behind this and suggest they consult with us as a sector on it.”