PUBS and restaurants told to close at 6pm from Friday in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus will cause many to "throw in the towel", a politician has said.

Darren Millar, Clwyd West MS, aired his fears after Wales' first minister Mark Drakeford outlined new coronavirus rules.

From Friday, December 4, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 6pm and will not be allowed to serve alcohol. After 6pm they will only be able to provide takeaway services.

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions must also close.

Mr Millar said: "With the virus circulating at wildly different rates in different parts of the country it is difficult to see how these Wales-wide restrictions can be justified.

"The new measures will cause many businesses to throw in the towel and are likely to lead to thousands of jobs being lost the length and breadth of the country. They are a kick in the teeth for those who've worked hard to implement Covid safe environments for their staff and customers.

"North Wales is likely to be particularly hard hit given the relative size of the hospitality industry to our economy and the importance of trade over the Christmas period."

Dr James Davies, Vale of Clwyd MP, said: “This is a broad-brush approach which will hammer North Wales in response to high levels of infection in much of South Wales.

"Based on rules due to be introduced in England, the counties of Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy would currently fall within the Tier One category, where table service within pubs will be permitted. Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire would likely be categorised as Tier Two, alongside neighbouring areas of England, where alcohol can be served with meals.

“While I agree that scientific evidence has increasingly pointed to the role of hospitality venues in aiding infection spread, and that there must be some restrictions, it is so important after all these months that the measures in place are proportionate and fair, else we inflict unnecessary harm on ourselves, encourage non-compliance, and fuel resentment."

The Welsh Government is making a further £340m available to businesses through the Economic Resilience Fund to support businesses affected by the new changes to the regulations. It will include a specific fund to support hospitality and tourism businesses.

Mr Davies added: "I welcome the promise of financial support for affected businesses and await the full details of this – but hugely regret the likely impact on the hospitality sector in North Wales in the usually very important run-up to Christmas.

"I urge the Welsh First Minister to reconsider, and adopt a localised approach.”