BRIDGEND MP Jamie Wallis has attacked the latest Welsh Government Covid rules which will ban the sale of alcohol in all pubs and licensed restaurants in Wales from Friday.
Welsh Conservative Dr Wallis said that the hospitality industry within Bridgend will be devastated by this move which will leave supermarkets and off licences free to sell unlimited amounts of alcohol to residents who can then consume it in their own homes.
He went on: “The science clearly shows that the place where the most transmission takes place is not in pubs but in people’s homes. Pubs, restaurants and cafes have spent large sums of money making their premises Covid-secure, following government guidelines. They have introduced social distancing, bought Perspex screens to erect between tables and have arranged to have enough staff to do table service to reduce the contact people have with others.
“They must be wondering why they have bothered when they are being made the scapegoats again by First Minister Mark Drakeford’s Welsh Labour Government.
“In the real world, where the rest of us live, we know that people who are denied the chance to socialise with friends in a pub or restaurant may be tempted to invite people into their homes where nobody will abide by any of the rules on mask-wearing or social distancing. And the infection rate will go up.
“Welsh Government has not produced any scientific evidence to show why the sale of alcohol in pubs and restaurants is causing the virus to spread. To bring the public along with them, they need to make sure that this evidence is released in tandem with new restrictions.
“I know from my own experience that local pubs are amongst the safest places you can be at the moment given all the time and money they have spent on making their premises Covid-secure.
“This latest announcement means that, in practice, very few pubs will open unless they have a restaurant trade as well but even then, making these premises close by 6pm will destroy the viability of most of them.
“Can businesses afford to buy in food, pay chefs and other staff for a trade which will have six hours at the most per day? It is economic illiteracy from this Welsh Labour Government.
“I have met a number of pub and restaurant owners in Bridgend since the first lockdown ended and they had hopes that if they complied with the rules they would at least be able to make the money they desperately need in the run-up to Christmas. Even after the second lockdown, there was a hope that until Christmas they would be able to trade until 10pm at least. But not being able to sell any alcohol at all at any time of the day is the final nail in the coffin of so many of our pubs.
“It’s crucial that when we come out of this Covid nightmare, that some of our most-loved community establishments are still open to serve us. Additional restrictions like these mean that more of them won’t be – and ever more low paid workers will be out of a job too,”