PUBS in Wales will not begin to open for at least another six weeks, Mark Drakeford has confirmed.
The first minister was announcing the extension of level four restrictions in Wales for another three weeks this afternoon.
While he offered hope for non-essential retail and close contact services such as hairdressers, he said pubs were “not likely to see a reopening” in the next six weeks.
Mr Drakeford said: “We are keen to engage with the sector but the only way we will succeed is if we approach the reopening in a way that is careful, step by step, and allows us to review the impact of any actions we take on the circulation of the virus.
“Too much, too soon, will return us to the very difficult days we saw before Christmas.
“As I explained to them, they are not likely to see a reopening at either of the next two three-week review periods.
“A lot will happen in those six weeks.
“We will learn about the circulation of the virus following the reopening of schools and, providing things continue to improve, then hospitality will on to the agenda of things we will consider next.”
The first minister said that the Welsh Government’s priorities were currently getting children back to school, reopening non-essential retail, and looking at the prospect of “even a minor resumption” of the tourism industry in Wales.
He added: “The other thing the industry said to me is that they do not want stop-start.
“They don’t want to be able to open and then find, because of the spread of the virus, that they have to close.
“As soon as conditions allow, we want to see the sector get back into action.
“But I know they understand that in the long term it is better for them, and for us all, to do this in a way that progress can be properly sustained.”