Posted: Wed 8th Jul 2020

Welsh Health Minister keen to avoid repeat of crowded pub scenes in England when they reopen

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 8th, 2020

The Health Minister says he is keen to avoid pubs becoming overcrowded in Wales when they reopen.

It follows scenes of packed pubs in England over the weekend after the UK Government eased restrictions designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Welsh Government previously announced bars, cafes and restaurants in Wales would be able to reopen outdoors from 13 July.

However, unlike other nations, it has yet to set a restart date for indoor hospitality, despite no new deaths being recorded in the country for the first time yesterday.

Speaking at Tuesday’s daily press conference, Vaughan Gething said it was important for people to not become complacent about the dangers posed by the virus.

He said: “I am not someone who is demanding that other people behave in a way because I don’t like drinking.

“I enjoy a drink from time to time, I enjoy going out with my family and I’d like to be able to go to a pub myself.

“But just as I’m having to consider what’s right for my family, I’m also having to consider what’s right for the country as well.

“That does reinforce why we’re not in a position to signal to hospitality that they can operate indoors.

“It’s partly driven by the scenes that we have seen in England, but also the evidence on the control measures that would need to be taken to make those more safe environments for staff and the public.”

Questions were also raised about when restaurants would be able to reopen.

Mr Gething said the government was eager to open up the Welsh economy as soon as possible, whilst taking safety considerations into account.

He said: “I’m genuinely concerned about people’s livelihoods and the reality that your economic circumstances help to drive your health outcomes too, so it’s in the interest of the health service to see people able to earn a living.

“That’s why we’ve urged UK government not to withdraw support in the way the furlough scheme operates but also to consider more support for different sectors of the economy.

“The second point I think to make is that we are having conversations with a range of different economic sectors to try to work through what might be possible.

“I’m not in a position to indicate when there might be a further reopening in the restaurant sector or otherwise, but the First Minister will have more to say, as we consider the review period to date.”

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