Major restaurant and pub chain bosses have written to the Government urging it to stick to the roadmap and allow them to reopen indoors from May 17.

Chief executives from the likes of JD Wetherspoon, Young's, Greene King and Pizza Hut signed the letter, which asks the Government not to delay the plan amid talk of vaccine passports being developed.

The 38 signatories claim two thirds of pubs and restaurants can not reopen at all until indoor eating and drinking is allowed.

The letter reads: “We must be driven by data not dates – and the data say it is safe to confirm now the reopening of indoor hospitality on May 17 and the lifting of all social-distancing restrictions on hospitality on June 21.

“This is vital as Government support for hospitality tapers away then, and without it many businesses will be unviable.

“The Prime Minister set out the right path. He should stick to it and not let it be derailed by talk of vaccine passports in pubs and restaurants."

It comes as Environment Secretary George Eustice said it is “too early to say” whether all hospitality businesses can reopen on May 17.

He said: “But I think we are on track in the sense that we are on track with the rollout of the vaccination programme.”

Mr Eustice said the impact of the recent easing of restrictions will be assessed “before moving to the next stage”.

It follows an ongoing row over the potential introduction of Covid health certificates, or so-called vaccine passports, which could be used to access public settings such as theatres, nightclubs and mass events, and might also be used in pubs and restaurants to reduce social distancing.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission warned this week that coronavirus status certificates could create a “two-tier society” which discriminates against certain groups.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been contacted by the Press Association for comment.