Relief as Wales prepares to ease restrictions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Relief as Wales prepares to ease trading restrictions nightclubs to reopen vaccine passports

Related tags Wales Coronavirus Night time economy lockdown rule of six

Wales is set to gradually move back to Alert Level Zero by the end of the month, removing trading restrictions that have been in place since late December.

Today (14 January) Mark Drakeford will set out the two-week plan to ease the measures, which came into effect on Boxing Day (26 December) and have seen hospitality venues once again required to follow two-metre social distancing and collect customer details.

Nightclubs have been forced to close their doors, and social gatherings in hospitality settings are restricted to the 'rule of six'.

The move to Alert Level Zero will be phased, with restrictions on outdoor activities being removed first.

Nightclubs will get the go-ahead to reopen on Friday 28 January, with hospitality allowed to operate normally from that date, although Covid passes, more commonly known referred to 'vaccine passports' will still be required for large events, plus cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.

“Finally a common sense approach from the Welsh Government," says Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents some 1,400 independent bars, clubs and live music venues across the UK.

"Following intense campaigning from the industry and trade bodies we have put an end to the uncertainty."

Kill continues that while he is relieved to finally have clarity on the Welsh Government’s intentions, it has come at a cost to businesses, staff and the supply chain.

“It is difficult to accept that we remain subject to Covid passes for nightclubs in Wales.

"They were sold as the solution to nightclubs and similar settings remaining open, and that they are an effective way of managing transmission within these environments.

“It is clear from the period of closure and restrictions that this is not the case, it is also clear that there is no evidence base that has been presented by Welsh Government to support this decision.

“I would urge the Welsh Government to realise the farcical basis of this mitigation, with no scientific evidence or data to support it, and end it in line with the date that restrictions for nightclubs are withdrawn on the 28 January.

“This policy seems only to have exacerbated market distortion, segregation, impact on trade and compromise staff and customer safety.”

Earlier this month, UKHospitality Cymru warned that the impact of trading restrictions meant revenue was least 25% lower in Wales than across the border in England​ where no direct measures have been targeted at hospitality firms over the festive season; although the ongoing 'work from home' order and subsequent drop in consumer confidence and footfall has hit businesses hard.

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