Alcohol banned in pubs, restaurants, and cafés in Wales as of Friday

This comes as Covid-19 cases rise across the country

First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced firm new rules for the hospitality industry in the lead up to Christmas.

Speaking at the Welsh Government’s briefing on Monday afternoon, he said that pubs, restaurants, and cafés in Wales will be banned from selling alcohol at any time of day, and will have to close at 6pm. 

There is one exception to the 6pm rule, however. Businesses that can stay open to provide takeaway or delivery services of food and non-alcoholic beverages will be allowed to remain open after other establishments have had to close for the evening.

The rules are set to come into place from 6pm on Friday 4th December. 

Mark Drakeford said during the briefing that the evidence “was there” for these new restrictions to be introduced.

This new attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 follows a “stark” rise in cases across Wales, even after the firebreak lockdown.

Not only will this be undeniably detrimental to the hospitality industry, but also the entertainment and culture sector too – with the new set of rules also including the closure of sites like cinemas, museums and galleries.

With the majority of students having to return home from Welsh Universities before 9th December, pubs and bars in student cities and towns were already set to take a huge financial blow in the festive period. 

Others within the Senedd such as Paul Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, have criticised the move by suggesting that these Wales-wide restrictions are unfair on areas that have low Coronavirus rates, calling the restrictions “disproportionate, and unfair”.

Plaid Cymru have also commented on the new restrictions, saying that the hospitality sector was now “paying the price” for softer measures that were initially introduced following the Welsh firebreak.

This news comes following the revelation that Wales’ infection rate is at the same level now as it was before the Welsh firebreak lockdown, which was enforced to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

A £340m support package for hospitality businesses affected by the new regulations has been released, with larger and smaller businesses being eligible to apply for differing amounts depending on their size.

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