Outdoor pubs and restaurants to reopen on 26 April if cases remain low
Pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoors on 26 April, the Welsh government has said.
Outdoor attractions can also open from that date. The changes will come into force provided coronavirus cases remain low.
Non-essential retail and all other close contact services will also reopen on 12th April, as well as travel between Wales and the rest of the UK.
The announcements come before a planned review from First Minister Mark Drakeford tomorrow, which is being announced on Thursday rather than the usual Friday because of the Easter weekend.
He is also expected to say that gyms can re-open sometime in May, alongside allowing up to 30 people to take part in outdoor sport.
Speaking ahead of the Welsh Government Coronavirus three-week review, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said that “what people need right now is hope”.
“Whilst we must continue to take care to prevent the virus taking hold again, the vaccine rollout gives us added confidence that we are moving in the right direction,” he said. “I am grateful to the people of Wales for all they have done to get us to this point.
“The Labour Government’s next steps must reflect this changing picture and the people of Wales should expect nothing less than a clear plan for the weeks ahead alongside a clear indication of the direction of travel.
“Hospitality should know what’s happening to be able to plan ahead. This should be backed up by additional financial support – increasing the pot of cash that’s available to businesses. Meanwhile gyms should be able to safely re-open – not least to help with people’s wellbeing and mental health which has suffered so much during the last few months.
“Time and again, hard-working Welsh businesses that form the backbone of our economy have been let down and left behind by this Labour government. After a gruelling year, the very least Labour can do is to dig deep and support key sectors of the economy on the eve of the holiday season.”
Commenting on Labour’s latest lockdown review announcement, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives provided a cautious but detailed roadmap out of lockdown in Wales for families, workers and business.
“Whilst we welcome the restart of non-essential retail, it’s regrettable Labour have not seen fit to give the green light to the safe reopening of gyms given two months ago ministers claimed it was a priority, and considering the huge toll lockdown has had on the physical and mental well-being of thousands of Welsh people.
“With the progress we’ve made on case rates and vaccination, we also believe consideration should’ve been given to the reopening of outdoor hospitality in Wales.
“The recent lifting of travel restrictions has caused issues such as a lack of public toilets, littering and anti-social behaviour – all of which have been seen over recent days in Cardiff and other places.
“Ministers should see licensed, regulated businesses as part of the solution, rather than the problem. And if they’re not going to reopen they should provide the necessary financial support to help save Welsh jobs.
“Welsh Conservatives have provided a cautious but detailed roadmap for families, workers and businesses across Wales and we believe that is the best plan to get our country back on the road to recovery.”
Responding to the news that Wales will soon move into a Level 3 status, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said: “This is good news. We are cautiously optimistic about the future, especially given the positive news regarding vaccine rollout.
“Small businesses especially in the hospitality industry have been hit hard by this closure and they will be relieved that many of them can start trading again.
“We have seen scenes of people enjoying the good weather and with a four day weekend approaching it’s important that people continue to stick to the rules. Any increase in virus numbers and a move back towards Level 4 would be a disaster.”
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