Responsible drinkers affected by new measures due to ‘relatively small minority of people’
The First Minister today acknowledged that new measures on the hospitality sector have an ‘unfair disproportionate effect’ of those acting responsibly, but are needed due to a ‘relatively small minority of people’.
Restaurants, pubs and bars will be banned from selling alcohol and will have to close at 6pm when new restrictions are introduced in Wales from Friday (December 4).
The sale of takeaways and deliveries will be allowed after 6pm.
Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions must also close from the end of the week.
Today LBC asked First Minister Mark Drakeford why responsible drinkers are being punished and if a limit of one or two drinks would not have been a fairer compromise.
The First Minister replied: “The vast majority of people in Wales do the right thing. They want to know what the rules are, and work hard to try to stick by them.
“What we learned with this viruses is that you only need a relatively small minority of people who don’t behave in the right way, for the virus to thrive and the virus to spread. The virus is no respecter of whether people are behaving well or believing badly, it can affect anybody.”
“In the end, in order to protect the people who are doing the right thing we have to have rules that are based on what works for everybody.”
“That sadly has to include those people who are less willing to follow the rules and to do the right thing.”
“So that’s difficult, and it does have an unfair disproportionate effect on people who would be responsible, do the right thing. But, in the end, these changes are as much designed to protect them as they are to protect anybody else.”
The First Minister opened the briefing giving an insight to the advice he has given if such measures were not taken, and mitigation not put in place.
He said: “Unless we respond now to the growing number of people infected with the virus, the advice we have from our scientific and medical experts is that by the 12th of January, the total number of people with coronavirus in hospital in Wales could rise to 2200.”
“Our modelling suggests, unless we act between 1000 and 1700 preventable deaths could take place over the winter period. On Friday, the all Wales seven day incidence rate was 187 cases per 100,000 people. Today, that has risen to almost 210 cases per 100,000.”
“We’ve seen further rises amongst the under 25 age group in 17 of the 22 local authority areas in Wales, and more worryingly, still, cases of coronavirus are beginning to rise in the over 60 age group.”
Paul Davies MS – the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament – has said the new restrictions announced today on the hospitality sector, which will be imposed from Friday are “disproportionate, and unfair”.
Mr Davies said: “This blanket approach across all of Wales is disproportionate and will unfairly affect parts of the country where infection rates are significantly lower than others, and will harm the sector to such an extent that large parts of it may not recover.”
“This is after they have invested hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of pounds on making their premises as safe as possible.”
“With the best will in the world, and especially in the run-up to Christmas, if pubs and cafes cannot sell alcohol with meals, it could encourage people to drink at home and in groups. All the evidence so far has shown that these sorts of interactions are generally more likely to be a cause of transmission.”
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