A North Wales celebrity chef has said “it’s time to take action now” to prop up the ailing Welsh restaurant industry.

Bryn Williams, whose Porth Eirias restaurant is one of the flagships of Colwyn Bay’s regeneration programme, wants the First Minister to produce a package of further aid and reduce social distancing guidelines to one metre in next week's Covid-19 review.

Speaking on behalf of the collective of Welsh Independent Restaurants, Mr Williams said one of the positive things about the pandemic was how independently owned and run pubs, cafes, restaurants and other food  businesses had shared ideas, supported NHS workers and helped each other.

He said they had been overwhelmed by public support for their initiatives but now the industry in Wales was planning a way forward.

However he warned it was the time to act to get their businesses back on track – and Welsh Government needs to play its part.

He said: “If we don’t take action now, we fear for the future of our venues.

“We are asking the government to work with us, and to support us, so that our important contribution to local economies, and the economy of Wales as a whole is able to thrive in the years ahead.

“As a collective we employ thousands of people across the towns, villages and cities of Wales, we sit right at the heart of our local communities and we are a key foundation stone in our local economies.

“The restaurant industry in Wales accounts for 135,000 primary and secondary jobs, often in communities where there is very little alternative employment.

“One in four jobs in Gwynedd, for example, is dependent on restaurants and other hospitality businesses.

“Wales has many hundreds of restaurants, pubs, cafes, inns, street food vendors, wedding businesses and more that together employ thousands of people.

“Here in Colwyn Bay, for example, we source as much of our food as possible from local farms and local suppliers, and we employ people from our local communities.”

In the collective’s letter to First Minister, Professor Mark Drakeford, the group is calling for a clear message of when restaurants will be allowed to open and a reduction in the social distancing rule to one metre.

They are also calling for “sector specific support” including business rates relief, permission to use outside areas such as pavements and support with rent.

They claim not reducing social distancing could result in “almost certain closure” for smaller restaurants.

Welsh Government has said the First Minister will outline the next stages of lockdown at his Covid-19 briefing next Friday, June 19.