The First Minister Mark Drakeford has suggested that pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen indoors in Wales from early August, providing coronavirus cases continue to fall.
Options for reopening will be considered from 3 August, if conditions allow, he said.
The UK Government’s “eat out to help out” discount as part of a series of measures to restart the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic also begins on that date.
It means diners will get a 50% discount off their restaurant bill during August under government plans to bolster the embattled hospitality sector.
Pubs had reopened in England last weekend. In Scotland, they will be able to fully reopen on 15 July.
Mark Drakeford said that “provided the re-opening of outdoor hospitality goes well and the state of the virus allows, indoor opening for pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants will resume from August 3”.
Asked about concerns that waiting until August to reopen hospitality indoors will put many businesses at risk, Mr Drakeford said he was “very glad” that he could provide a clear reopening date for this sector.
“This sector has had weeks to prepare for reopening outdoors, not three days. There is plenty of guidance out there for those intending to reopen,” he said.
There was an “anxiety”, the first minister claimed, among the public in Wales “about going back to places where they may feel that their health and wellbeing would not be safely looked after”.
The First Minister said his announcement gives three weeks for the sector itself to do the things that are necessary to “make a success of the changes that have been offered to it”.
These changes will give confidence to the sector’s customer base, he said, adding that he’s sure businesses “will focus on what they can do instead of what they cannot do.”
“Together we are making good progress to tackle the spread of this virus. It is thanks to the efforts we have made together that we are able to lift the restrictions and re-open more parts of our society and economy,” the First Minister said.
“However, the threat from coronavirus has not gone away and only by all of us acting responsibly will we be able to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, thinking carefully about where we go and why.”