Covid passes could be rolled out to wider hospitality industry if cases don’t fall, Drakeford says
Mark Drakeford has said that Covid passes may have to be introduced for the wider hospitality industry if cases do not fall in the next three weeks.
The Welsh Government has already implemented them for nightclubs and will extend them to theatres, cinemas and concert halls on November 15.
His words suggest that pubs and restaurants could also face use of Covid passes unless cases begin to dip.
“We will say today that the hospitality industry needs to use the next three weeks to prepare for the possibility that Covid passes may have to be used in that setting,” Mark Drakeford told BBC Breakfast.
“That’s a specific example of an action that we could take in three weeks’ time.”
Mark Drakeford also said that workplaces and schools could face a reintroduction of restrictions in three weeks’ time.
“When I talk about risk assessments in the workplace, I’m talking about the number of people who can work safely from home. Maybe we will have to do more of that,” he said.
“As you said at the moment we do not have social distancing as a stand alone measure in the workplace. We did for many, many months. If we can’t bring the numbers down through the actions we will take over the next three weeks, we will have to revisit that basket of measures we have drawn on previously.”
The Welsh Government later said that restrictions to pubs, hotels and restaurants could be on the table if cases do not fall.
“There are currently no plans to introduce covid passes for pubs, hotels etc., and the FM was very clear this morning that we hope the extra measures introduced today will have a positive impact on the figures,” a spokesperson said.
“However, if cases remain high – and rise – this is an option that the Cabinet may have to consider at the next review round.”
Wales has the highest infection rate in the UK at the moment, with 686 cases per 100,000.
Mar Drakeford however said that they were “not intending to shut schools”.
“But there are more things that could be done in schools to try to reduce the spread of the virus,” he said. “All those have a downside as well as an upside.
“They disrupt the experience of education for children and young people, and surely they’ve had enough of that over the last 18 months. But if it is a matter of keeping people safe, the Welsh Government has never shied away from taking the necessary measures, and if further measures are necessary in three weeks’ time, that is what we will do.”
Mark Drakeford however said that new measures could be avoided if cases can be brought down over the next three weeks.
“The situation in Wales is that we have far too many cases of coronavirus in the community,” he said. “Vaccination continues to stem the flow of people into hospitals, but hospitals are under huge pressure.
“We want to keep Wales safe and keep Wales open. But we have to do more over the next three weeks – otherwise, we’ll have to think of a wider repertoire of actions.
“The Welsh Government will continue to enforce the measures we do have in place over the next three weeks, and we all need to make sure we extract the maximum impact from those measures to get those numbers down.”
He added: “What I’m sure we will see in the next three weeks is the collective determination of people in Wales to grasp this sutuation and to help every one of us to get these numbers back down, so that we can carry on with the level of very modest restrictions we currently have, as we get further into autumn and winter.”
He added that the Welsh Government “don’t want to” see any new restrictions.
“We’ve managed to keep Wales at alert level 0 for many weeks now, but with the numbers as they are in the community, we have literally thousands of people every day falling ill with the coronavirus,” he said.
“They can’t be in work, they can’t be out helping with the economy, and we have to do something to bring those numbers down.”
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