Timetable for first stages of re-opening Wales’ hospitality and tourism sector announced
The first stage in re-opening Wales’ hospitality and tourism sectors has been announced today – however the Welsh Government’s approach to easing lockdown has been described as “ad-hoc” by opposition parties.
International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan today confirmed that pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to prepare to re-open outdoors from 13 July.
A final decision about these changes will be made at the next review of the regulations on 9 July and will depend on whether rates of coronavirus on Wales are continuing to fall.
Future decisions about indoor re-opening will be made later and will depend on the success of the first phase of outdoor opening.
The Minister will today also confirm the timetable for re-opening outdoor visitor attractions and the partial opening of the tourism industry in Wales for the remainder of the summer season.
If the requirement to stay local is lifted in Wales on 6 July, outdoor visitor attractions will be able to reopen from Monday.
Subject to the forthcoming review of coronavirus regulations on 9 July, the tourism sector is preparing to re-open self-contained accommodation.
The Minister will today confirm the date that owners of self-contained accommodation can accept bookings is being brought forward to 11 July from 13 July, to help with the pattern of Saturday-to-Saturday bookings.
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language Eluned Morgan said: “Tourism is a vital part of the Welsh economy at a national, regional and local level. I’d like to thank all our industry partners for working with us to carefully reopen the visitor economy.
“A successful, safe and phased return will give businesses, communities and visitors confidence to continue with the recovery of the visitor economy.
“We ask everyone who travels to and around Wales to enjoy their time here, but always to respect local communities. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Wales – but we want everyone to Visit Wales Safely.”
Guidance to help businesses in Wales’ visitor economy has been published this week. Further guidance for cafes, bars and pubs will follow.
Visit Wales has also worked with the other national tourism organisations on a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide reassurance as the sector works towards reopening.
The Good To Go industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate they are adhering to the respective government and public health guidance; have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked they have the required processes in place.
The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry.
However Plaid Cymru say the the Welsh Government’s approach to easing lockdown is “ad-hoc” and that calls to outline timescales for the hospitality’ and tourism sectors have been “ignored”.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy, Helen Mary Jones MS: “Plaid Cymru and Wales’ bars and restaurants have consistently asked for a timescale for reopening the hospitality sector in Wales. Our calls have been ignored by Welsh Government until now.
“While the news that we have a date now for outdoor opening is welcome, we still do not understand why a timetable couldn’t have been shared with the sector earlier.
“Giving the sector less than two weeks to prepare for re-opening shows how problematic the Welsh Government’s current ad-hoc approach is to easing restrictions.”
Conservative Shadow Minister for Covid Recovery, Darren Millar MS, added: “This announcement will be welcome news for some businesses in the hospitality sector across Wales but without a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rules and the ability to use indoor spaces, it still won’t be viable for many businesses.
“Unfortunately, the Labour-led Welsh Government’s foot dragging has come too late for some businesses which have already laid off staff and closed permanently due to the prolonged uncertainty and I suspect that without a clear timetable for indoor services others will too.”
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