DISAPPOINTMENT has washed across the country after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Freedom Day would be delayed until next month.

Many business owners have been left frustrated that they still can’t operate at full capacity, with nightclub bosses warning late night venues will be lost if the government doesn’t act now.

It comes as Boris Johnson put the brakes on the the long-awaited removal of lockdown restrictions which were planned for Monday, June 21.

Addressing the public, the Prime Minister announced Freedom Day will instead take place on July 19 as the government aim to get more people vaccinated.

Mr Johnson said he is “confident” he will not need to extend the lockdown beyond that date but “now is the time to ease off the accelerator” in what has been described as a “difficult choice”.

Experts fear a third wave is already beginning in the UK, with new cases rising up to more than 7,000 a day in the past week.

Hospitality bosses have slammed the government’s decision, insisting nightclubs could be permanently lost if they’re not able to open.

Simon Patterson, owner of Chinnery’s in Southend, has now been forced to cancel live music bands they had booked.

He said: “We had a band booked for Thursday which we’ll now have to cancel. It’s frustrating because we can’t have live music and that’s what we’re famous for.

“We book everyone and then we have to cancel them again. It’s frustrating.”

A spokesperson for Unit 7 said: “Having been closed for 16 months, we are very disappointed by this decision.

“The late night sector, including clubs like ours, urgently needs additional financial support from the treasury.

“Unlike other parts of hospitality, we have not been allowed to trade. Despite the fact we have no income coming in, we have rates to pay, furlough coming to an end and landlords that will want paying when the moratorium on rents ends later this month.

“If the government doesn’t act now, we stand to lose more of our iconic late venues that have been at the heart of local late night economies for years.”

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Adam Hussain, 41, managing director of Basil Spice restaurant in Basildon has had to cancel half of his booking reservations so his business can continue to comply with social distancing rules.

He said: “I’ve got so many bookings made. We’ve got bookings for hen dos, stag dos, wedding receptions but I can only trade at half capacity.

“It’s frustrating for us and our customers.

“I’ve had to cancel half of my bookings. All wedding receptions have been cancelled.

“It’s taking a toll. I’m frustrated and angry but what can we do?

“We have also got to think of the businesses that haven’t opened. So in that sense and the fact I’m still allowed to trade I’m thankful and grateful. But it’s one step forwards and two steps back.”

Downing Street has left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected but has conceded this is “unlikely”.