PUBS, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close at 6pm daily from FRIDAY in Wales – and they will be banned from selling booze, the First Minister announced this morning.
Minister Mark Drakeford warned that the facts are “stark” as he announced tough new curbs just weeks after the firebreak lockdown ended.
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From 6pm draconian new national measures will come into force in Wales, slapping tough curfews and booze bans on the hospitality sector.
Pubs and restaurants will still be allowed to do takeaway after 6pm – but it will be a heavy blow for hospitality hoping to get a boost over the Christmas period.
Other entertainment venues will need to close, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play, casinos and skating rinks.
There is already a 10pm curfew on buying alcohol in supermarkets or off-licences.
Mr Drakeford said this morning: “I recognise just how hard the hospitality and (leisure) sectors have worked to comply with the regulations.
“I know the new restrictions will be difficult, coming as they do at one of the busiest times of the year.”
But he warned “we continue to face a virus that is moving incredibly quickly across Wales, and it is a virus that will exploit every opportunity when we spend time with one another.”
From 6pm on Friday:
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes will have to close daily at 6pm
- Alcohol will not be allowed to be served at any time in hospitality
- Cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play, casinos and skating rinks will also have to close
It comes just three weeks after the firebreak lockdown in Wales ended.
For 17 days, people were given fresh stay at home orders.
And pubs, restaurants, shops and other non-essential businesses were forced to close.
The fresh measures suggest the lockdown did not do enough to push new cases down.
The First Minister admitted Wales was losing ground it had made during the lockdown.
He said: “Unfortunately, the virus is moving incredibly quickly across Wales and is eroding the gains we made during the firebreak period.
“This virus – and this pandemic – continues to be full of unpleasant surprises.
“It thrives on our normal human behaviour and all those places and opportunities where we come together.”
Mr Drakeford warned that if no action was taken, the number of people with coronavirus in hospital would jump to 2,200 by mid-January, with as many as 1,700 preventable deaths.
And he said the next few weeks will be “difficult and demanding” for everyone in Wales.
There were 1,004 new coronavirus cases yesterday, with 16 deaths.
The rules are being toughened up before a five day relaxation over Christmas.
People across the UK will be allowed to join up in “festive bubbles” with three households.
The bubbles will only be allowed to see one another indoors from December 23 to 27.
They will be allowed to meet up in private homes, in places of worship and outdoors.
It is currently illegal to travel from England to Wales, but Mr Drakeford said he would review this rule when the English lockdown ends on Wednesday.
The Welsh Government will hand out an extra £180million to the tourism, leisure and hospitality forced to close.
The rules will be reviewed every two weeks, with the first review set for December 17.
It means there is still a chance restaurants, pubs and cages could reopen in time for Christmas.
The new measures don’t change the rules on mixing with other people – which let people in Wales to form an exclusive bubble of with one other household.