Restaurants and pubs in Wales finally get confirmed restart date for indoor service

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants and pubs in Wales finally get restart date for indoor service

Related tags: Welsh assembly, Restaurant, Public house, Coronavirus

Restaurants, pubs and cafés in Wales have been told they can finally begin indoor service from next Monday (3 August).

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed the reopening date during a briefing earlier today (31 July), although the date had initially been announced earlier this month​.

Speaking to radio station Heart South Wales on Thursday (30 July), Drakeford said: "We said a couple of weeks ago that, provided everything went according to plan, we would be able to reopen indoor hospitality - cafes, restaurants, bars and so on - on 3 August.

"It depended upon the state of the coronavirus. We've had the latest checks. We're confident now that we'll be able to go ahead."

While the rest of the UK has gradually seen Coronavirus lockdown restrictions lifted over the last month to allow restaurants and pubs to serve indoors, Welsh hospitality venues have only been allowed to operate an outdoor service.

Trade body UKHospitality welcomed the confirmation, but also called on the Welsh Government to provide further clarity for those elements of hospitality still unable to reopen.

“This is a welcome and really positive step forward for Welsh hospitality businesses which have been hit very hard by this crisis," says David Chapman, UKHospitality executive director for Wales.

"Our sector plays a big part in local economies all around Wales, so getting the sector back up and running is going to be crucial.

“We do now need further clarity for those parts of the sector that cannot open, such as function and event centres, and weddings venues.

"Following a Ministerial meeting today, we will be meeting with Welsh Government on Monday to seek to drive forward a route map for reopening these key areas so businesses can have some sense of security.

“We are also in advanced and positive discussions with Welsh Government, who recognise our arguments around the devastating impact of a loss of the season and restrictive opening, to seek additional targeted rescue funding support for the tourism and hospitality sector in Wales.”

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) says similar, pointing out that pubs not just in Wales but across the UK will need continued support from the Government to help them get back to business and participate in the country's economic recovery.

“This is a moment of excitement and relief for our sector in what has been a very difficult period," says BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin.

"We only hope the decision by the Welsh Government hasn’t come too late in avoiding mass closures of pubs in Wales, as they are the last to fully reopen anywhere in the UK - and quite a bit behind other pubs too.   

“Pubs in Wales will now be looking to make the most of the Summer to get back to business and rebuild their trade.

"Obviously continued support from Government for pubs and brewers across the UK, including those in Wales, is still going to be needed in the short and medium term.

"Such support will help ensure our pubs get back on their feet properly and play the leading role they can in our economic recovery.

“Our members look forward to welcoming back their customers and tourists and rebuilding their trade.”

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