THE Welsh Government should go further than closing the pubs at 10pm in areas where there are Coronavirus restrictions, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has said.
First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed this evening that pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales will have to shut at 10pm every night under new measures to control the rising rate of coronavirus. Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets after 10pm will also be stopped and pubs will also be required to provide table service only. The measures will come into force on Thursday.
However, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said that in areas of increased restrictions – including Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, the sales of alcohol from off licences should be restricted from 6pm and that the Welsh Government should consider closing pubs indoors or follow the example in Ireland by temporarily closing down pubs that do not serve food.
Mr Price said these steps should be backed-up by “sector-specific financial support to affected businesses”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said that the next few weeks would be “crucial” in avoiding a second lockdown and said that the more “comprehensive and earlier restrictions introduced the shorter the period they are likely to be necessary” – echoing the advice of the Welsh Government’s latest advice from TAC published today.
He also called for an enforceable ban on non-essential travel from lockdown areas in the rest of the UK into Wales to “keep communities safe”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,
“This is a square peg in a round hole approach from the First Minister. It takes little account of local circumstances and measure announced tonight are arguably too strict for certain parts of the country and too lenient in others. The next few weeks are going to be crucial in avoiding a second lockdown. The more comprehensive and earlier restrictions introduced the shorter the period they are likely to be necessary – as is consistent with TAC advice published today.
“In areas of increased restrictions, we should go further than simply closing pubs at 10pm. In those areas, we should also restrict the sales of alcohol from off licences at 6pm and either close pubs indoors completely or close pubs that don’t serve food like they’ve done in Ireland. Crucially, these steps must be backed-up by sector-specific financial support to affected businesses.
“Nation-wide, there should be an enforceable ban on non-essential travel from lockdown areas in the rest of the UK into Wales to keep communities where there is decreased transmission safe. The First Minister should also consider having Covid-free areas and areas of low community transmission which would be exempt from any nationwide changes. This would serve two purposes: it would incentivise continued adherence to the rules in areas of low transmission and increase adherence to the rules in areas of higher transmission.