Welsh hospitality businesses call for emergency support

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) calls for emergency Coronavirus support Wales local lockdowns

Related tags Wales Coronavirus Government

The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) has sent an urgent letter to the Welsh Government setting out the increasingly fragile financial position of the sector.

The group, which represents more than 300 businesses, says that unless changes are made to the rules on eating out and extra funds are found to help the industry meet rent and other costs, thousands more jobs will go, and businesses will disappear.

A recent survey by the WIRC reveals that 50% of businesses across the country have already shed jobs, with the total number of losses to date potentially being as high as 12,000.

The results also shows that a further 8,500 jobs are anticipated to be lost before Christmas, and 36% of business feel their chance of still trading at Easter 2021 are 50/50 at best.

As a result, the WIRC is asking Welsh Government to reconsider its version of the 'rule of six', which forbids those not within the same extended household group from meeting indoors in larger groups.

The group argues that the Scottish rule, which lets a changeable combination of two households meet inside homes or in hospitality venues, has similar regard for safety concerns but will have a much less severe impact on their hospitality sector, and also allows individuals to enjoy more varied and rewarding social interaction.

Furthermore, the group adds that most hospitality venues in the country are operating in accordance with all rules and guidance and providing 'one of the safest environments in which to meet others', and asks that ministers do more to support that case.

It also calls for urgent consideration of financial assistance to bridge the chasm caused by the steep decline in turnover, saying that a failure to act will mean many businesses going under. 

Meanwhile, earlier today (21 September) the Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething announced that local lockdowns in four new areas of south Wales would come into force at 6pm tomorrow (22 September).

The restrictions are being introduced in Newport, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent, and will see licensed hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants ordered to shut by 11pm every night under a curfew that will also extended to Caerphilly.

Last week the Welsh borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf had similar measures imposed upon it. 

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