New Welsh coronavirus restrictions: Pubs and restaurants banned from selling alcohol

30 November 2020, 12:21 | Updated: 30 November 2020, 14:44

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Welsh government has announced new tough coronavirus restrictions and rules that will once again be placed on the country's hospitality industry, just weeks after the end of the firebreak lockdown.

Pubs and restaurants will have to shut from 6pm each day in Wales, it has been announced, with premises completely banned from serving alcohol, including with food.

After 6pm, venues will only be able to provide takeaway services.

Speaking at a press conference, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed new tough rules and restrictions in Wales such as the closure of cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades from Friday. Outdoor visitor attractions will be allowed to remain open.

All other national coronavirus restrictions will remain the same, Mr Drakeford confirmed.

Mr Drakeford also gave some grave statistics, telling the 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.

He also said modelling suggested another 1,600 people could also lose their lives over the winter period.

Mr Drakeford explained: "The measures we are taking are based on what the UK SAGE group of experts tells us has worked best elsewhere.

However, he praised the NHS in Wales for a "large and successful test" of practical matters that need to be in place once a vaccine is given the go ahead.

Mr Drakeford said: "That could be as early as this week and we will be ready for it."

He said there had been a "terrific response" to the mass testing programme in Merthyr Tydfil, with more than 10,000 people tested in the first eight days.

Care homes will begin using lateral flow tests this week "to help reunite families who have been separated for many months", Mr Drakeford said.

Advice will be published later about visiting in hospitals to offer hope that both parents can be "more involved" in their baby's antenatal care, he added.

Revellers enjoy a night out in Cardiff
Revellers enjoy a night out in Cardiff. Picture: Getty

Mr Drakeford also announced a £340m support package for hospitality businesses affected by the new regulations.He said smaller and medium-sized businesses can access up to £100,000, while larger businesses can access up to £150,000.

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

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.

A deserted Cardiff city centre in lockdown
A deserted Cardiff city centre in lockdown. Picture: Getty

It comes just weeks after the 17-day firebreak lockdown ended in Wales.

The R rate - the number of people each infected person passed the virus on to - has risen again to 1.4 in Wales, with the rate needing to be below one for the number of cases to fall.

Public Health Wales data published on Sunday revealed there were 16 suspected covid-19 deaths and 1004 new cases.

Last week, it was confirmed there will be no tier system introduced for Wales. Instead, a single set of restrictions will apply to the whole of Wales as Christmas approaches.