Warning that partygoers will travel to England to celebrate
Partygoers from Wales travelling to Chester will cause more problems in terms of spreading the virus than keeping Welsh pubs open.
That’s the view of Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd, who made an impassioned plea for the Labour Government to re-think its draconian no-alcohol policy for pubs throughout the country.
The call comes after the Welsh Government allowed travel between Wales and Tier 2 areas in England, which include Liverpool and Chester.
Mr Gruffydd said:“Staying safe and saving lives remains the top priority in this Covid-19 pandemic. Even with good news about new vaccines, it will take some months to roll those out to everyone.
“In the meantime we have to maintain a sensible balance in terms of allowing people to work and live. Penalising the hospitality trade – pubs, restaurants and cafés – after a terrible year will send many to the wall. Don’t kill our pubs.
“The impact of losing jobs and businesses will be terrible. And it makes no sense that people can meet in groups of four from different households for a coffee but two people from the same household can’t go for a pint!”
Mr Gruffydd added that many Welsh people living close to the border will hop on a train or bus to go to Chester or Liverpool to enjoy a Christmas meal or drink.
He said:“Mark Drakeford’s draconian no-alcohol policy has hit wet-sales pubs and food pubs alike and most will be closed now until the New Year. That makes no sense when the same government is permitting people to go across the border to Chester and further afield with the likelihood of greater transmission of the virus as a result.
“Security and safety in a well-run Welsh pub is going to be lower risk than catching the last bus home from Chester after a night out. It might not be the only thing you catch.”
Plaid Cymru is calling for a compromise that would allow licensed premises to serve alcohol and stay open until 8pm.
Mr Gruffydd added: “Pubs have borne a huge burden over the last few months – introducing safety measures, reducing customer numbers and having to employ more staff to manage the situation. Proper support is needed for workers and small businesses to overcome this additional hurdle imposed by this Welsh Government. Greater certainty is needed to ensure businesses can plan for the future. That means a better understanding by this Welsh Government of the wider implications of having four different sets of rules for our pubs and restaurants in just six weeks.
“We accept it’s a difficult balancing act but this latest ruling by Mark Drakeford is wrong and Plaid Cymru is proposing a sensible compromise that enables people to stay safe and live their lives in the Christmas period.”