The 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown scheduled for Wales from this Friday will be a ‘severe blow to hospitality and tourism’, but the new funding support is a ‘very encouraging’ step from the government, UKHospitality has said.
Announced yesterday by First Minister Mark Drakeford, from 6pm on Friday night, Wales will be placed under strict guidelines for a time period of 17 days.
Hotels, pubs and restaurants have been ordered to close, as well as non-essential retail and leisure businesses.
People have also been told to work from home wherever possible, and households banned from mixing indoors and outdoors.
Reacting to the news that the Welsh Government is introducing a firebreak lockdown, UKHospitality Cymru Executive Director for Wales, David Chapman said: “Another lockdown, even a short one such as this, is a severe blow to Welsh hospitality and tourism. If it has to happen, though, it is very encouraging to see the First Minister single out hospitality for support.”
An economic resilience fund of almost £300m has been created to support businesses during the lockdown, which also includes a one-off payment of up to £5,000 for hospitality businesses affected.
“The package announced today is welcome, positive and shows that the Welsh Government is listening to us,” Chapman added.
“It is vital now that we get some further advice on how the Economic Resilience Fund will be applied, how businesses over £51,000 rateable value will be additionally helped and how the support announced by the First Minister is applied without delay to keep businesses alive and avoid further job losses.
“Once the firebreak is complete, we then need to see some really innovative thinking around how Welsh Government continues to support the sector and that must include a second look at current restrictions around opening hours. Hospitality is part of the solution, not the problem, to keeping COVID-19 at bay.
“We can lead on safe socialising, helping make sure people across Wales can meet friends and family safely in a licensed, protected environment.”