Wales: Covid-19 restrictions a 'hammerblow' says pub owner
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The owner of a pub in Wrexham has launched a withering attack on Mark Drakeford after Wales’ First Minister opted to bring in new measures that threaten to further undermine the Hospitality sector in a bid to stem the flow of the COVID-19 variant Omicron. The new restrictions will be brought forward by 24 hours and wil come into force on December 26 at 6pm, with Alex Jones feeling hard done by Mr Drakeford’s sudden decision as Boxing Day is a famously profitable day. Boris Johnson is yet to announce new restrictions for England, and given the close proximity to Liverpool and Chester, Welshmen living near the English border could be tempted into doing the 25-mile journey and head to Merseyside for a night out.
Mr Jones said that a mass exodus of people in local Wrexham would be another frustrating blow for his pockets as he stressed that “things are going round in circles”.
Speaking to Sky News, he said that the removal of two tables in order to be in line with the Government’s guidelines, urging people to maintain 2m between each other, could cost him up to 300 pounds a day as he admits that people working in hospitality may endure a couple of sleepless nights.
He said: “The first thing we saw, they [the new measures] were gonna come in on the 27 so it’s a bit of a shock to hear that they will come in on the 26, on Boxing Day at 6am.
“Those colleagues of mine who have got nightclubs and late-night bars, it’s quite a hammer blow to them.
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“For my business, we do table service, that’s not going to be too much of a shock.”
He continued: “The main thing is the two meters social distancing. Our venue is only five meters wide so we will lose about two tables which is 100 pounds a day potentially that we could be losing.
“I am intrigued to see what the government’s support package will be and how that’s gonna be rolled out and also how long that’s gonna keep us going for.
“We’re staffed up now to operate as we have been operating without the likes of furlough but if we’re going to lose trade, potentially we could lose probably 30-40 percent with the trade because obviously we’re gonna have to take tables out.
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“It’s quite worrying because our business is operating at the capacity we’ve been running at for so many months there are lots of concerns out there again in Hospitality.”
Mr Jones predicted that people, who have the means to hop over to Liverpool, Chester, or Manchester to have a blast on Boxing Day without having to worry too much about having to adhere to all the new rules will do so.
He then called on Boris Johnson to introduce the same rules in England as it gives their Hospitality industries an unfair advantage over Wales.
He said: “To give you an example, when the Covid passes came in, a lot of late-night venues saw a 50 percent reduction in trade because they don’t have to do the covid passes over the border.
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“We feel like again people who live in border towns can just snip over the road, literally 10 minutes away and they can go and have a night out.
“Boris Johnson has to come out and he needs to meet with what the rest of the country is doing and the rest of the UK.”
Mr Drakeford on Wednesday announced that hospitality venues should be restricted to table-service only while customers must wear face masks unless they are seated.
A maximum of 50 people can attend an outdoor event and 30 indoors.
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