New travel rules ‘rub salt in the wounds of the Welsh hospitality industry’
The lifting of some travel restrictions between Wales and England “will rub salt in the wounds of the Welsh hospitality industry,” shadow covid recovery minister Darren Millar has said.
The Conservative MS for Clwyd West believes many of those wanting to go to a pub in Wales will “take their custom and cash across the border to enjoy a tipple with a meal in England instead.”
From Friday in Wales restaurants, pubs and bars will be banned from selling alcohol and will have to close at 6pm
The fresh measures being introduced are aimed at stemming the spread of the COVID-19.
The new restrictions will come into force just a month after the end of the the Wales wide firebreak as cases begin to rise again.
First minister Mark Drakeford said without tighter restrictions, there could be between 1000 and 1700 “preventable deaths”, according to scientific modelling.
Earlier today the Welsh government confirmed that travel between Wales and areas of the UK with high rates of coronavirus – tier three England, levels four and five in Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland will not be allowed from 6pm on Friday.
Despite the Welsh Government strongly advising people against travelling to other parts of the UK, travel to tier two areas such as Liverpool and Chester will be possible but within the new rules.
Travel will not be allowed to tier three ‘very high alert’ areas such as Manchester.
All travel restrictions within the UK will be suspended between 23 and 27 December to allow people to meet members of their Christmas bubble.
Mr Drakeford said: “There will be no restrictions on travel within Wales but we need to have some restrictions on travel across the border to those parts of the UK where infection rates are high to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“We are also advising people in Wales not to travel into those parts of England and Scotland where the infection rate is lower, to help prevent them taking coronavirus with them.”
“Coronavirus doesn’t respect borders – we all have a part to play in keeping Wales and the UK safe. Please think carefully about where you are going and what you are doing. This virus thrives wherever we come together with others.”
Darren Millar MS welcomed the “lifting of travel restrictions between Wales and England” but said there can be “no doubt that this news will rub salt in the wounds of the Welsh hospitality industry.”
“With Welsh pubs, cafes and restaurants being banned from selling alcohol on their premises from 6pm tomorrow, many of their customers will be taking their custom and cash across the border to enjoy a tipple with a meal in England instead.
“The Welsh Labour-led Government must rethink its new rules, engage with leaders the hospitality industry and adopt a more targeted approach to intervention that keeps the Welsh pound in Wales, and attracts the English pound into Welsh businesses too, especially in the run up to Christmas.”
The hospitality industry has reacted angrily to the new measures in Wales.
The 6pm curfew and ban on serving alcohol on all 3,227 pubs in Wales will “destroy the sector,” Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said.
Ms McClarkin said: “Evenings are the key trading period for pubs and enjoying a beer, with or without a meal, is one of life’s simple pleasures – forcing pubs to close at 6pm and banning alcohol sales all but closes them down in reality.”
“When you factor in that December, with the festive season, is the most important time of the year for pub goers and our sector, this really couldn’t come at a worse time.”
Read more about the travel restrictions here 👇https://t.co/fpt1UOsIsK
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) December 3, 2020
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