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Welsh government pledges £180m for hospitality venues impacted by new measures

Wales

Yesterday Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that businesses in Wales will be subjected to further lockdown restrictions from this Friday, including a complete ban on the sale of alcohol.

From December 4, pubs, restaurants and hotels across Wales will have to shut at 6pm and the sale of alcohol, with or without a meal, is not permitted at any time. After 6pm, these businesses will be able to offer takeaway only of food and soft drinks.

Announcing the new restrictions, Drakeford also said the Welsh government would provide ‘the most generous package of financial assistance anywhere in the UK’ to businesses impacted by the new measures.

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This will include £180m specifically for tourism, leisure and hospitality business as part of a wider £340m funding package.

The move was called a ‘massive blow to hospitality, by UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman, who said hospitality bsuinesses can often trade up to 25% of annual turnover during the Christmas period, which they will now no longer be able to maximise.

He said: “We feel isolated and feel we are unjustly bearing the brunt of Government actions when retail and other areas are allowed to trade relatively unhindered.

“These businesses have been devastated all year, struggled to stay afloat in the face of diminished consumer confidence and stifling measures and, even with the financial support,  this could be a hurdle too many.

“We can take some comfort from the swift response to our direct appeals for vital support by the financial support being offered by the Welsh Government, though. Such severe restrictions necessitated a similarly large package of support to offset the measures and ensure that businesses stay alive and jobs remain open. There are still losers in this package and some of our bigger hotels could still be in inadequately assisted.

“We pushed the Welsh Government very hard on this and they have listened. If they survive, these are businesses that can spearhead the recovery of the Welsh economy next year and beyond.”

Drakeford said said the measures were based on advice from the UK’s Sage group of scientific advisors and would be reviewed on December 17.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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