Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has been urged to end Covid restrictions in order to quash proposals to host the nations games for the Six Nations Rugby competition in England.
Licensee of the Man of Steel pub in Newport, Alison Mcloughlin, said: “It’s an insult, it’s an unnecessary choice.
“A lot of people use the facilities of the public house before they go down to Cardiff on the train, or they have minibuses, or coaches going from the pub to go down to Cardiff.
“Wales may be a beautiful country but the only thing that's left for Wales is rugby and the rug is going to be pulled from under our feet.
Taking the games away should be forbidden
“The love people have for the rugby is phenomenal, I absolutely adore rugby, it brings an atmosphere into my home.
“Pubs pay hard for sports with BT Sport and Sky Sport and with it being right on our doorstep, taking it away should be forbidden.”
Under current restrictions, which have been in place since 26 December 2021, no more than 50 people can come together to watch sporting events, effectively forcing them to be held behind closed doors.
Pleas from Welsh hospitality businesses came after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced full crowds will be permitted at sporting events from Monday (17 January).
Catastrophe for local businesses
UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said: “Rugby internationals at the Millennium Stadium are worth upwards of £20m to the city centre and environs, and to lose these key events to continued restrictions would be a catastrophe for local businesses fighting to salvage sustainability from a terrible Christmas and new year season.
“The international day represents a beacon on the horizon for city centre hospitality, with the night-time economy closed, hotels currently trading at between 5-15% occupancy and pubs and restaurants around 60% of normal trading.
“We are daily reporting the plight of the industry to Government and strongly urging a clear and immediate route out of restrictions for all affected businesses at the earliest opportunity.”