Pubs and restaurants in Wales can reopen indoors on August 3, Drakeford says
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes in Wales could reopen indoors on August 3, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said indoor service would be allowed as long as the state of coronavirus in the country permitted, and the lifting of restrictions on outdoor hospitality was a success.
The announcement came as Public Health Wales said no new Covid-19 deaths had been recorded in the country for the previous 24 hours for the second time in a week, with the number of deaths remaining at 1,540.
The total number of cases in Wales increased by 10 to 15,939.
Friday saw confirmation that outdoor team sports and activities including football and fitness classes will be allowed to resume from Monday, along with hair appointments and outdoor service for food and drink.
Mr Drakeford set out a four-week package of relaxed measures which would see the reopening of playgrounds, outdoor gyms, beauty salons, campsites and accommodation with shared facilities, cinemas and museums.
The four-week period would culminate with pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes being allowed to welcome customers indoors for the first time since lockdown, as long as conditions allowed.
Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government’s daily press briefing in Cardiff: “I want to send a clear signal that, provided the reopening of outdoor hospitality goes well, and the state of the virus allows indoor opening for pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will resume from August 3.”
Mr Drakeford said it would be for the hospitality industry to demonstrate they can open safely indoors in order to give “confidence” to returning customers.
The news will come as a relief to many businesses, some of whom, including pubs owned by Wetherspoons and Brains, have said they would not open until they were allowed to have customers indoors.
Mr Drakeford said the two-metre social distancing regulations would also be changed, allowing businesses to implement safety measures including erecting protective shields in places where keeping a distance is not practical.
Saturday will see restrictions on self-contained holiday accommodation lifted in Wales, followed by the reopening of outdoor hospitality and allowing hair appointments.
Also from Monday up to 30 people will be allowed to gather outdoors where organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities, including “low-contact” sports like football as well as dance and fitness classes.
Providing the virus remains under control, from July 20 outdoor gyms, playgrounds and community centres will be able to reopen, while July 27 will see the reopening of close-contact services, including beauty salons, tattoo shops and nail parlours.
The viewing of occupied homes for rent or sale will also be able to restart in the housing market, and campsites and other accommodation with shared facilities will be allowed to reopen along with cinemas, museums and galleries.
Mr Drakeford said the number of new Covid-19 cases were falling by about 2% every day, but pointed to events in Melbourne, Australia, which despite recording only two new cases of the virus on June 9, was now in lockdown again for the next six weeks.
He added: “That’s how quickly things can go wrong.”