NIGHTCLUBS look set to remain closed as Boris Johnson prepares to push back the June 21 'freedom day' by four weeks.
The PM is ready to announce stage four in his roadmap out of lockdown will be delayed by a month amid surging Covid cases fuelled by the worrying Delta variant.
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Mr Johnson will tell Brits whether he is pressing on with his original plan of a full unlocking in a week's time, or if he is putting it on hold.
A postponement will like mean pubs are restricted to table service, with the return of propping up the bar still some way off.
Meanwhile, theatres and cinemas will continue to be capped at just 50 per cent capacity, and people will be told to continue working from home if they can.
And crucially, clubs - many of which have been closed since the start of the pandemic - will remain closed.
Gigs would also be threatened, as the current rules allow for capacity limits of 50 per cent - or 1,000 maximum - indoors.
However, nightclub bosses have vowed to reopen regardless of Covid rules on June 21.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Nighttime Industries Association (NTIA), said: "Any further extension of lockdown will see a huge swathe of our industry just go to the wall.
"It beggars belief that we are in this position 15 months on."
He told City AM the sector was "getting to breaking point".
His plea coincides with an announcement from Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has vowed to reopen his theatres "come hell or high water" on June 21 regardless of whether restrictions are lifted.
Lord Lloyd-Webber also declared that he is prepared to be arrested if authorities try to intervene.
The famous composer's £6million musical Cinderella is due to hold its world premiere on July 14 at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London.
There has been huge concern across hospitality, with some warning 300,000 jobs are at risk as a result of an £87billion loss during the course of the pandemic.
Even London mayor Sadiq Khan - who has argued for lockdowns - has written to the PM to warn the capital is "at risk of catastrophic collapse" if social distancing doesn't come to an end.
The British Beer & Pub Association said trade was 20 per cent lower as a result of restrictions that require customers to be served at tables.
It estimates that one in 20 pubs has stayed shut even after drinking indoors returned in May.
The Sun reported yesterday that the PM will delay freedom day to July 19 after cases of the mutant Indian strain exploded by 240 per cent in just a week.
Under plans announced on Monday, a two-week review will be included - meaning Covid restrictions could be dropped on July 5 if hospitalisations stay down.
But multiple sources said the chances of lifting restrictions as planned on June 21 were close to zero.
Whitehall sources involved in the planning point to the fact that all UK adults will have been offered at least one jab by the end of July, with a short delay considered far better than having to U-turn and reintroduce restrictions.
The delay will be used to work out if the vaccine rollout really means rising cases numbers do not spark a surge in hospitalisations - and it will allow millions more people to be double jabbed.
Worrying research suggests the Delta mutation more than doubles risk of hospitalisation.
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However, patient numbers have grown at a much slower pace than cases – meaning it's likely the vaccines are currently working to save lives.
Just six per cent of all Delta variant infections were in people who had both jabs.
More than half of the 42 deaths due to the mutation were in unvaccinated Brits.