Carluccio’s is in talks with landlords to negotiate a three-month rent holiday, as the restaurant chain becomes the latest to be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s told the Financial Times on Sunday that the company was making public its rent relief request as a “call to arms” to encourage the sector to work together to prevent business closures.

Jones said footfall had plummeted 40% in central London because of concerns over the spread of the virus in the past two weeks, while footfall fell nearly 30% near Newcastle.

“Our modelling is that things are going to get a lot worse for a long time before we can even talk about better,” he said.

The Italian restaurant chain closed 29 restaurants last year and now has 74 sites with 2,000 staff.