PEMBROKESHIRE pub, cafe, and restaurant owners have backed an open letter to First Minister Mark Drakeford, calling for a five-point plan to support the “forgotten sector” as they exit lockdown.

The open letter, organised by Dan Mills of Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, has been signed by 50 hospitality businesses so far, and was sent to the First Minister on Wednesday, June 24.

It follows the decision by the First Minister to allow tourism businesses to open, without a clear road map in place for the hospitality sector.

“We all acknowledge that the closure of our pubs and restaurants was crucial to ensuring Covid-19 was controlled in Wales, but now is the time for the First Minister to take steps to secure the future of the industry,” said Dan.

The letter sets out a five-point plan, including a detailed pathway out of lockdown, grant funding, reducing the two-metre social distancing rule and enforceable commercial landlord guidance.

It also highlights the importance of accommodation, leisure and hospitality businesses working together to provide the tourism experience that Pembrokeshire is renowned for.

Dennis O’Connor of Pembrokeshire said: “Sectors which traditionally are entwined have been separated by last Friday’s announcement and this has led to an understandable rise in concern for hospitality businesses.

“Without this infrastructure open and trading alongside its tourism sector partners, Pembrokeshire as a destination for holidays will be severely disadvantaged, especially if the hospitality sector in other parts of the UK are given the green light to open. It means that from July 13 visitors can come to Wales to holiday, but their holiday will be missing a key part of the infrastructure.”

Dan added: “Businesses I speak to are increasingly concerned that there is huge damage being done to the Pembrokeshire tourism brand.

“Lots of usual visitors are instead deciding to visit areas such as Devon and Cornwall where they can have a full and relatively normal break away.”

Local backers of the letter include: The Huntsman, Rosemarket; The Lobster Pot, Marloes; The Horse and Jockey, Milford Haven; The Pelcomb Inn, Haverfordwest; The Masons Arms, Haverfordwest; Simon Vickers, The Griffin, Dale; Mark Edwards of Eddies, Haverfordwest; Labyrinth, Haverfordwest; Coco's Restaurant, Milford Haven & Coco's Brasserie, Dale; The Lounge, Milford Haven & Foam, Milford Haven; Lee Bridges, The Imperial Hall & Imperial Wedding & Events Co, Milford Haven.