Steak restaurant chain Hawksmoor has confirmed it will welcome business lunches in its tier 2 and 3 sites.

Following confirmation from government minister Oliver Dowden that the working lunch exemption is not a loophole but government policy, the brand has said it will be accepting work-related bookings of up to 6 people in its London and Manchester sites going forward.

In an email to customers, it also announced an extension in the opening hours of its Guildhall restaurant – which will now operate from Monday at 5pm to Sunday 5pm – to deal with increased demand at weekends and offer staff additional hours.

Except for its Edinburgh restaurant, all other Hawksmoor UK sites have reopened.

“At the moment the hospitality industry seems to be sitting on shifting sands and surrounded by doubt,” the business said. “We’ve had so many kind messages of support, and seen so many others for our friends who run or work in other venues in hospitality.

“The people who work at Hawksmoor have been genuinely incredible, and we wanted to acknowledge the efforts they have put in.

“That Hawksmoor should still be such a pleasant place to be, and still be hitting such high standards is a tribute to them.”