Speaking at a briefing today (Friday 12 March), Mark Drakeford outlined the first stages of a lockdown easing plan, with rules on outdoor socialising to be changed shortly.
Non-essential retail will open slowly and result in all shops being open from 12 April, as in England.
However, Drakeford said he was unable to provide the hospitality sector with a “definitive date” given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.
There will be a further £150m available to help hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail businesses, in addition to the business rates holiday extension.
Businesses unable to operate in lockdown will receive further grants, with pubs eligible for payments between £4,000 and £5,000.
The Welsh Government would look at reopening outdoor hospitality next month, providing the public health situation continued to improve, Drakeford said.
“Unfortunately, there are very few guarantees in this pandemic,” he explained.
“We know from our own experience and experience in Europe today, just how quickly events can take a turn for the worse.”
An infectious strain of coronavirus - the Kent variant - was now the most dominant form of the virus in Wales, the Minister said.
The variant “makes it even harder to predict what will happen as we begin to relax restrictions.”
The First Minister did give some indication of when pubs could be likely to reopen.
“As we look ahead to the end of April,” Drakeford said, “if we continue to see an improving public health picture we will be able to consider what more we can do to support people to meet each other and what we can do to continue reopening our economy, for example looking at outdoor hospitality, the wedding sector and leisure and gyms.”
In England, pubs were given a provisional date of 12 April for the reopening of beer gardens when the Government set out its roadmap on Monday 22 February.
Unlocking the country would require residents to “continue to work together and remember to follow the basic rules to protect ourselves and one another,” Drakeford added.