© PA
Mark Drakeford announced the restrictions will come into force from December 4
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the new drastic measures will come into force from 6pm on Friday December 4. In another dashing blow to the hospitality sector, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes must close their doors to the public from 6pm and will be banned from selling alcohol.

Firms will only be permitted to operate as a takeaway service beyond the curfew.

Indoor venues such a cinemas, bowling alleys and casinos must also close until the restrictions are reviewed on December 17.

Appearing at a coronavirus briefing, Mr Drakeford said the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had warned the number of people in hospital in Wales with coronavirus could rise to 2,200 by January 12 if no further action was taken.

Comment: These fearmongering predictions about mass death have never come to pass.

He added the current modelling suggested another 1,600 people could also die over the winter period.

Mr Drakeford said: "The measures we are taking are based on what the UK SAGE group of experts tells us has worked best elsewhere.

"From 6pm on Friday, our national measures will be amended to introduce new restrictions for hospitality and indoor entertainment attractions.

"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.

"From the same date, indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, must close."

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage condemned the move in a post on Twitter, he wrote: "The Welsh First Minister is clearly a puritan - a total ban on alcohol sales in pubs will destroy the industry. Cromwell would be proud."

The announcement comes just three weeks after Wales ended its 17-day firebreak lockdown.

Comment: As Julia Hartley-Brewer notes below, this 'firebreak' lockdown was sold on the basis that it would prevent the need for further lockdowns...

In the past week, 16 of the 22 local authorities in Wales recorded a rise in their seven-day rolling average of coronavirus cases.

An increase in the number of infections was recorded amongst the under 25s and more worryingly those aged over 60.

The First Minister said the number of people infected with coronavirus per 100,000 people had risen from 187 on Friday to 210.

Mr Drakeford pledged to support firms hit by the new rules and said a £340million package would be available.

In an apparent swipe at Westminster, he claimed it was "the most generous package of financial assistance anywhere in the UK".

Comment: Generous? Whose money does he think he's spending? The billions from these 'rescue' packages will inevitably be lumped onto the public through massive tax hikes, salary freezes and even more cuts to what's left of public services.

Mr Drakeford said: "I am very grateful for everything the sector has done.

"I know these new restrictions will be difficult, coming as they do at the one of the busiest times of the year for the sector.

"Unfortunately, we continue to face a virus which is moving incredibly quickly across Wales and a virus that will exploit every opportunity when we spend time with one another."

The restrictions will not apply to England once the national lockdown ends on December 2.

Only hospitality venues in the highest tier 3 areas - such as Manchester - must stay closed, except for delivery and takeaway services.

In tier two regions - such as London and Liverpool - pubs and restaurants can serve alcohol with a substantial meal until 10pm and can stay open until 11pm.