Wales: some holiday accommodation to reopen but wider hospitality left in limbo

26 March 2021 by
Wales: some holiday accommodation to reopen but wider hospitality left in limbo

Parts of the Welsh tourism sector can begin to reopen from 27 March, it has been confirmed.

Self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en suite facilities and room service, will be able to welcome people from the same household or support bubble.

The ‘stay local' rules will lift and unrestricted travel will be allowed within Wales, but non-essential travel to and from other UK nations is banned for at least two weeks.

However, the Welsh government has still given no roadmap for reopening indoor hospitality and only an approximate date of 22 April for outdoor service.

Hospitality operators say they face a struggle for survival without a clear opening date and financial support set to expire on 31 March.

Businesses fear no further help will be announced until May due in part to upcoming Senedd elections, potentially leaving many without help at a critical time.

The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) warned such a gap could be "catastrophic" for jobs and undermine all previous efforts to help businesses survive.

Dan Warder, of Top Joes pizza restaurants in Narberth and Tenby in Pembrokeshire, said: "The costs don't go away when we aren't trading. Rent has to be paid, utilities, loan repayments and employer contributions to the furlough scheme. Government at all levels has made substantial efforts to help the sector during its forced closure, but the reality is that these can never match the losses being incurred."

Both the English and Scottish governments have announced potential reopening dates for hospitality and additional funding.

Kasim Ali, founder of the Waterloo Tea chain in south Wales, said: "The mood among all who work in the sector is one of great anxiety, an anxiety that could be substantially lifted by Welsh government breaking their silence on funding available post 31 March."

Welsh hospitality owners told The Caterer earlier this month that they were struggling to bear the financial costs of closure and losing bookings to England, which has a clearer roadmap out of lockdown.

Matt Connolly, founder of Sticky Fingers Street Food, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a judicial review of restrictions on hospitality in Wales.

He said he has spoken to the legal team who handled the case for Sacha Lord on behalf of hospitality in England, which overturned the 10pm curfew and requirement to serve a substantial meal.

Next week Welsh ministers will consider allowing travel in and out of Wales and reopening all shops and close contact services. If approved the changes will come into effect from 12 April.

Photo: Shutterstock

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