Industry demands further clarity from Welsh Government over hospitality reopening dates

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Industry demands further clarity from Welsh Government over hospitality reopening dates Coronavirus

Related tags: Welsh assembly government, ukhospitality, Coronavirus, Restaurant

The Welsh Government has said pubs, cafes and restaurants can begin to reopen from 13 July, providing Coronavirus cases continue to fall across the country.

However, businesses will only be allowed to open up their outdoor spaces for customers on this date; despite industry pressure, indoor services will remain closed for now.

The announcement, made yesterday (2 July), has led to renewed calls from trade body UKHospitality for the Welsh Government to 'urgently provide firm dates to enable hospitality businesses to plan for a safe and orderly full reopening'.

The country remains the only part of the UK without a restart date for indoor hospitality.

“While premises remain closed or partially open without the surety of a full opening date, the spectre of large numbers of redundancies hangs over the industry and the vulnerable communities it serves across Wales," says David Chapman, UKHospitality executive director for Wales.

“Businesses are unable to formally plan for bringing back staff and anticipating revenues, and they are facing squarely the end of vital financial support. They are reporting the possibility of around 35-40 per cent redundancies in our sector.

“We need clarification of the opening date to give businesses confidence. We also need a refreshed and substantial support package to help our businesses to operate to the highest level possible so that they can retain as many of their workforce as possible.”

Debs Lewis, co-founder of street food outfit Dusty Knuckle Pizza, describes the Welsh Government's decisio as frustrating, saying that for many operators it doesn't go far enough.

"We are fortunate to have one site that is exclusively outdoors," she says.

"We are lucky that we can look forward to firing up the oven and welcoming people back to our outdoor dining space at The Boneyard in Canton, but we are eager to hear more from the Welsh Government to allow the rest of our sector to reopen, too."

Meanwhile, Shumana Palit, co-founder of the Ultracomida Group, which operates two deli-restaurants in Narberth and Aberystwyth, as well as Curado Bar and Vermut in Cardiff city centre, says the decision smacks of 'too little too late'.

"The news that it's only outdoor spaces that will be allowed to open from the middle of July is heart-breaking for us, as we don't have much outdoor space at all.

"We are eagerly waiting to hear about whether any outdoor space can be created specifically for us by local councils, but we are yet to have anything confirmed.

“As the furlough schemes, grants and loans that have helped us to survive are already running out, our main feeling at this point is that this is all too little, too late."

Related topics: Business

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