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Wales’ restrictions relaxed further than England and Scotland with indoor reopening

Published:  12 May, 2021

Wales is the latest member of the UK to announce that hospitality businesses can open indoors from 17 May, following in the footsteps of England and Scotland, but with up to six people from different households able to meet.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed indoor hospitality can reopen from 17 May with funding of up to £25k being made available to help businesses “support firms and safeguard jobs” through June.

As of Monday, up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors.

This is in contrast to the announcement of Boris Johnson on Monday (10 May), who confirmed pubs and restaurants in England will be able to serve groups of six indoors for the first time since December last year, but only with up to two households mixing.

In Scotland, six people from a maximum of three different households will be allowed to meet in pubs, restaurants and cafes with alcohol being served until 10.30pm.

“The public health situation continues to improve in Wales – we have the lowest coronavirus rates and the best vaccination rates in the UK,” Drakeford said.

“Eligible businesses will receive support of up to £25,000 as they prepare to reopen and move towards more normal trading conditions.”

Daily infection rates continue to fall in Wales, where a current rate of 8.6 cases for every 100,000 people is the lowest since August.

While six people can now meet indoors at hospitality venues in Wales, social distancing will still apply, with those who do not live together, or who are not in bubbles, having to stay two metres apart.

This week, the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) representing over 400 cafes, pubs, restaurants and hotels renewed its call for Covid restrictions to be eased for the hospitality sector including scrapping the two metres social distancing rule.

The letter also said there should be acknowledgement Wales “has been under the heaviest trading restrictions of any of the UK nations and that the gap in funding that has persisted since 31 March needs to be filled”.

Calls for the relaxation of rules in Ireland are also ramping up.

In Northern Ireland, members organisation Hospitality Ulster has called on government to bring forward hospitality’s indoor reopening from the current date of 24 May.