While the reopening of indoor dining is good news for operators, it will be against a background of “much of the hospitality sector remaining on the precipice of major failure”, according to Jeremy King, co-founder and CEO, Corbin & King.

He said that should the government not intervene, at least on the issue of rent debt, then there will be many significant closures this year.

“Ironically further pressure is brought to bear in the attempt to trade because of yet another predicted reality of Brexit coming to fruition with the realisation that a vast number of European employees just ain’t coming back – and sadly I have to ask “who could blame them?” said King.

He added that alongside a lot of British workers, what they have witness in terms of the treatment of the sector during the pandemic has left them looking for alternative careers.

Despite the challenges, King said he remained “truly, madly, deeply optimistic” about the future. He added that he believed there were enough good landlords prepared to work with existing and emerging retail and restaurant entrepreneurs to fill the empty spaces lost by closures.

“I also have optimism for the return to offices and have no concerns if it is only two or three days a week because I believe that when office workers do come into town they will make better use of what London offers rather than purely the destination they commute to,” he said.

“One of the benefits of this ghastly year is that I believe and hope that customers will appreciate their favourite restaurants more, but also, and really crucial as far as I am concerned, restaurateurs and their staff will appreciate their customers more.”

King confirmed that all of its restaurants would reopen from Monday 17 May, although with slightly modified hours.