Wales to ban on-trade alcohol sales from Friday

1st December, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Bars in Wales will be ordered to close at 6pm and will no longer be allowed to serve alcohol under new restrictions that come into force on Friday.

Bars and pubs in Wales will not be permitted to serve alcohol from Friday evening

As a result of the rising number of cases in Wales, first minister Mark Drakeford announced yesterday (30 November) that new national measures would come into force in the country from Friday 4 December at 6pm GMT.

The new measures include a 6pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, and the banning of on-trade alcohol sales.

Indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bowling alleys and casinos must also close, as should indoor attractions, such as museums and galleries.

There have been a total of 80,342 cases of coronavirus in Wales, with 802 new instances reported yesterday.

Alongside the restrictions, the Welsh government announced further support for businesses affected by the closures.

The Welsh government has made a further £340 million (US$450m) available through the Economic Resilience Fund, which will include a specific fund to support hospitality and tourism businesses.

The support is split into two funds, a £160m (US$214m) Restrictions Business Fund and a £180m (US£240m) sector-specific Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme.

The Restrictions Business Fund will enable eligible businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors that pay non-domestic rates (NDR) to access grants of up to £5,000 (US$6,700). It is estimated that around 60,000 businesses, with a rateable value of under £150,000 (US$200,000) will receive this support.

Drakeford said: “The hospitality and visitor sectors have worked hard to comply with the many regulations to make their businesses compliant and to protect customers from the threat of coronavirus. I am very grateful for everything the sector has done. I know these new restrictions will be difficult as they come at the one of the busiest times of the year.

“To support businesses we will make a further £340m package of support available through the Economic Resilience Fund. This includes a £180m fund targeted at hospitality and tourism businesses.

“Taken together these measures continue our determination to protect both lives and livelihoods during the coronavirus crisis in Wales.”

Industry response

Despite the additional support measures announced in Wales, trade group UK Hospitality said the new restrictions were a “massive blow” to the hospitality industry.

UK Hospitality’s executive director for Wales, David Chapman, said: “We feel isolated and feel we are unjustly bearing the brunt of government actions when retail and other areas are allowed to trade relatively unhindered.

“These businesses have been devastated all year, struggled to stay afloat in the face of diminished consumer confidence and stifling measures and, even with the financial support, this could be a hurdle too many.

“We can take some comfort from the swift response to our direct appeals for vital support by the financial support being offered by the Welsh government, though. Such severe restrictions necessitated a similarly large package of support to offset the measures and ensure that businesses stay alive and jobs remain open. There are still losers in this package and some of our bigger hotels could still be in inadequately assisted.

“We pushed the Welsh government very hard on this and they have listened. If they survive, these are businesses that can spearhead the recovery of the Welsh economy next year and beyond.”

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