Pubs in Wales might not be able to sell alcohol until Spring 2021
The new lockdown restrictions will be harsh for the next few months
Under the new Welsh Government restrictions, pubs in Wales may not be able to sell any alcohol again until Spring.
Wales are moving into a tier 4 lockdown from midnight tonight, which means the restrictions are set to be much harsher and long-lasting.
Pubs, for most of December, were banned from selling alcohol and forced to close, creating havoc in what is typically the busiest time of year for the hospitality industry.
Unless an area reaches tier 2, which is unlikely given the rising COVID-19 rates in Wales, pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to sell alcohol – even if they do, they have to serve it with a substantial meal.
With the fact that it takes two weeks to show if restrictions have had a positive effect on the rates, and the extremely high rates in parts of Wales, it is unknown whether Wales will reach tier 2 before March 2021.
The earliest that Wales could move down to tier 2 would be 18 January, at the first three week review. If ministers feel that moving down a tier is not sufficient enough, the next review would be 8 February.
Even if Wales reach level 3, pubs and restaurants would still be under an alcohol ban and hospitality would have to shut at 6pm.
The 1st of March is the most significant date for the hospitality industry, to judge if cases and rates decrease enough for the levels to change.
If pubs and restaurants reach level 2, they can serve alcohol again but only until 10pm and with a substantial meal too.
What this means is that if hospitality venues don’t sell food, they run the risk of never opening again.
Ben Francis, policy chair at the Federation of Small Businesses Wales said that the “Welsh Government urgently needs to provide some hope to hospitality business owners across Wales”. Further adding: “the Government has not yet indicated at all how long level four restrictions will last and so there is uncertainty”.
The Welsh government have indicated that national measures have proved to be more effective and so local restrictions will not happen any time soon, although they are still being considered.
Mr Francis also added: “these firms are local employers and are often the backbone of their communities – we must ensure that they are able to come out of this winter as viable businesses”.