George Eustice has said restrictions on hospitality businesses won't be loosened until July, but that beer gardens are likely to be the first areas to reopen.
Speaking to Sky News earlier today, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs said: "We won't be loosening the restrictions until July, and even then it's likely that in the case of pubs and restaurants it will begin with beer gardens and outdoor areas only."
He added: "We've recognised all along that there are some sectors, in particular hospitality, that are going to have the greatest challenge of all."
Scotland confirmed in its route map to exiting lockdown published last week that hospitality businesses' outdoor spaces will be able to reopen earlier than indoor spaces. However, UKHospitality has opposed the plan, which it says has the potential to "create a two-tier sector".
In England, it has only been confirmed that areas of hospitality will be able to reopen from 4 July. But the mayor of Liverpool has committed £45,000 to create more European-style covered outdoor seating areas in the city to help businesses.
Granting ‘blanket' permission for restaurants, pubs, cafés and bars to use pedestrianised streets for outdoor dining in England is also being considered by housing and local government minister Robert Jenrick.