Support for businesses affected by future Level 4 lockdown to be unveiled this week
Further support will be made available for those businesses affected by the new level four restrictions being introduced in Wales, the first minister has confirmed.
Yesterday it was announced that higher-level restrictions will come into force in a bid to control “rapidly accelerating” coronavirus rates across Wales.
The new restrictions, which will apply to all of Wales, include all non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres closing at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.
All hospitality premises will close from 6pm on Christmas Day and tighter restrictions on household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply from December 28, after the five-day Christmas period.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has also urged everyone who can to work from home, saying it is “one of the most important contributions we can all make” to controlling the spread of coronavirus and saving lives.
It comes after Wales recorded its highest level of coronavirus cases in the last week, with one in five tests carried out being positive.
Currently there are 2,100 people with coronavirus symptoms in hospitals in Wales – equivalent to five general hospitals fully occupied by people with coronavirus.
Speaking yesterday Mr Drakeford said: “We are seeing levels of coronavirus in some parts of the country that we haven’t experienced at any point before in this pandemic. This pandemic is putting our NHS under intense and sustained strain.
“There are more than 2,100 people with coronavirus symptoms in our hospitals – equivalent to five general hospitals fully occupied by people with coronavirus.
“This has been such a long and difficult year. We need to take this action to save lives and control the spread of this awful virus.”
He also confirmed that further support will be made available for businesses, with further details expected at the end of the week.
At yesterday’s Welsh Government briefing we asked the first minister if he could provide an overview of what that support will include.
We also asked that with alert level four very much like the full lockdown earlier this year, would the support follow the Economic Resilience Fund model and would there be further business rates related grants. We also noted that the festive period and new year is often a time when some businesses turnover more than other periods of the year, and would any support reflect that.
Mr Drakeford said: “The fact that businesses can continue to trade right up until Christmas is part of a recognition of a final point that you made.
“It is another balancing of harms, there are health harms and their economic harms.
“The messages have been very clearly conveyed to us by the sectors, that this is a very important trading time of the year for businesses in Wales and they will be able to trade right through that most important period.”
“There will be many millions of pounds additionally provided in help to businesses as a result of the restrictions that will come into place immediately after Christmas and we will announce the details of that before the end of this week.”
“I am keen to make use of the routes we have already used to get that help to businesses in the way that you’ve described, because the more we can use established routes of getting help to businesses, the quicker that help arrives with them.”
“I was pleased to report in the Senedd yesterday that the help that we promised as a result of the restrictions on hospitality, that hundreds of businesses and millions of pounds are already being provided to those businesses where we’ve been able to use routes that we had already established.”
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