Pubs and restaurants in Wales banned from selling alcohol from Friday

Daniel O'Mahony
·3-min read
<p>First Minister Mark Drakeford announced pubs, bars and cafes must close by 6pm on Friday</p> (PA)

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced pubs, bars and cafes must close by 6pm on Friday

(PA)

Pubs, bars and cafes in Wales will be banned from selling alcohol and must close by 6pm from Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Monday.

Mr Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference that coronavirus was “accelerating across Wales” and the gains achieved during the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown were being eroded.

He said that unless action was taken now, the number of people with coronavirus in Welsh hospitals could reach 2,200 by January 12.

“From 6pm on Friday, our national measures will be amended to introduce new restrictions for hospitality and indoor entertainment attractions,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 6pm and will not be allowed to serve alcohol. After 6pm they will only be able to provide takeaway services.

“From the same date, indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, must close.”

Mr Drakeford also revealed indoor visitor attractions would also have to close from Friday, while outdoor attractions could remain open.

<p>A woman wearing a face mask walks past a cafe with a 'Happy Christmas' sign on The Hayes in Cardiff, Wales</p>Getty Images

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a cafe with a 'Happy Christmas' sign on The Hayes in Cardiff, Wales

Getty Images

Other national measures, such as household bubbles, will remain the same, as well as how many people can meet in public indoor or outdoors.

The restrictions will be formally reviewed by December 17 and then every three weeks.

Mr Drakeford said he was “grateful” for what the hospitality industry had done and acknowledged that the new restrictions would be “difficult” as they come at one of the busiest times of the year.

“To support businesses affected by these new restrictions into the New Year, we will provide the most generous package of financial assistance anywhere in the UK,” he said.

This will include £180m specifically for tourism, leisure and hospitality business which is in addition to various support schemes available from the UK Government.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the Welsh First Minister was a “puritan”, following the announcement that alcohol sales would be banned in pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes in the country from Friday night.

He tweeted: “The Welsh First Minister is clearly a puritan — a total ban on alcohol sales in pubs will destroy the industry. Cromwell would be proud."

Mr Drakeford said people meeting in hospitality settings were not having “glancing contact” with others, such as in a supermarket, but sitting together for a period of time.

“When we get together in that way, whether its in our own home or in a hospitality setting, the virus thrives and the cases rise and we end up with the position that we see in Wales today,” he said.

“It is a matter of deep regret because of all the work that the sector has done and all the people that work in it, that we are having, as in England and as in Scotland, to add this measure to the repertoire of actions that we are taking to make sure that when we go into that Christmas period, those five days when restrictions will be relaxed for households, we’ve created a position in which the risk to one another and to our health service can be contained.”

Reporting by PA

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