Welsh pubs 'victims' without further support

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Firebreak outcome: pubs are awaiting further confirmation of what reopening will look like in Wales
Firebreak outcome: pubs are awaiting further confirmation of what reopening will look like in Wales

Related tags: Wales, Welsh pub, lockdown, Cardiff, Swansea, Coronavirus, Legislation, Property

The Welsh Government has been urged to explain where hospitality in the country will stand once the ‘firebreak’ lockdown ends.

Pubs must remain closed until Friday 9 November under a “short, sharp” lockdown period.

UKHospitality Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to outline how it will support businesses in the coming months.

It said there are 140,000 people directly employed in hospitality across Wales and support must go further to protect these jobs.

UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said measures currently in place were “having a hugely debilitating effect on Welsh hospitality businesses”.

The trade body has asked policymakers to review policies impacting hospitality including travel restrictions, the 10pm curfew, two-metre social distancing and a ban on households socialising.

Surviving winter

In the letter, the association highlighted the plight of businesses unable to access grant support because they have rateable values over £51k.

Pubs need to know what restrictions will be in place beyond 9 November so they can plan for the future, the letter said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has promised hospitality will be able to reopen on "essentially the same terms as they traded before the lockdown began", however there are still questions about household mixing and travel restrictions.

Chapman added: “We fully understand the need to control the spread of the virus and promote public health. Hospitality businesses have spent time and money to make their venues safe for customers, and we are happy to take the necessary steps to keep customers safe.

“We need help to do that and businesses need support to survive this winter and keep jobs secure. We do not want businesses that can do so much to help rebuild the Welsh economy next year, to be unintended victims of measures designed to keep communities safe.”

Operators have said the support provided by the Welsh Government is too little, too late.

No help yet

Licensee Lara Joslin runs the King's Header, Gower and shared her frustration over her staff having to wait for support and the rateable value cap. 

She said: "So we were promised quicker support but again our business rates are too high so no help yet. Plus staff who joined since 29 February now have to wait until 8 December before new scheme is accessible?! How are businesses meant to ride this storm?!"

Sandra Hughes runs the Neuadd Fawr Arms, Carmarthenshire and wrote in The Morning Advertiser​ of her deliberations over closing her pub for a longer period.

“Hospitality isn’t an industry that can open and shut without planning,” she said. “Our pub is the heart of the community, somewhere people come to meet – often people who would otherwise not see anyone for weeks. Now it is unviable to turn the lights on and open the door.”

Related topics: Legislation

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