Covid-19: Countryside Alliance wants clear roadmap for reopening of hospitality

THE LATEST announcement does little to allay the concerns for the future of the Welsh hospitality sector, Countryside Alliance Wales says.

The organisation, which launched the UnlockInn Wales campaign to save pubs, is calling on the Welsh Government to provide a clear roadmap of when the Welsh hospitality industry will reopen.

On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced when non-essential retail would be allowed to reopen, but there remains no indication when pubs and restaurants will be allowed to do so.

Rachel Evans, of Countryside Alliance Wales, said: “Hospitality in Wales has suffered hugely throughout the pandemic. Publicans, hotel owners at large and restaurateurs have spent months feeling incredibly anxious about the future of their business.

“Today (Friday), the First Minister made little headway in alleviating many of those very valid concerns, but it is perhaps some reassurance that a financial package has been put in place for the hospitality sector. But how far will this go?

“We have repeatedly asked for a roadmap forward for these fragile businesses so they can at least make tentative plans, but the First Minister appears unwilling to acknowledge the huge impact these businesses have- when open- in supporting our economy, as well the societal benefits attached to them.

“Now, more than ever, we need people to send a message that further delay is detrimental to the industry’s long-term survival.”

More broadly, Ms Evans added: “A significant portion of Wales is rural. The ‘stay local’ messaging may sound like a satisfactory soundbite for those living in more urban areas, but for many in the Welsh countryside, the government’s position will be unhelpful requires much greater clarification. 5 miles can be the distance from one village to the next, not the distance from a village to a large town where there are a greater number of important facilities. With vaccination rollout happening at an incredibly fast rate, many will be asking why Wales isn’t moving forward more rapidly.”

The #UnlockInnWales campaign will subsequently remain live and available for the public to sign.

A recent survey carried out by the Countryside Alliance revealed that only 34 percent of those publicans who responded said their businesses could survive if they are required to stay shut until the summer months.

It asks the Welsh Government to:

  • Offer a practical road map for pubs and the hospitality industry at large to help them realistically prepare for when they can resume trading again.
  • If pubs are forced to remain closed into the Summer months, to provide businesses with increased financial support.

The campaign has gained cross-party support from: Russell George AS/MS, Rhun ap Iorwerth AS/MS, Neil Hamilton AS/MS, Mark Isherwood AS/MS, Darren Millar AS/MS, Janet Fisher AS/MS, Llyr Gruffydd AS/MS and Paul Davies AS/MS.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey