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“Dishonest and as nonsensical as it is puritanical” Campaign for Pubs slam Welsh Government decision to ban alcohol in pubs

The Campaign for Pubs, the national grassroots campaign group representing pubs, publicans and pub-goers has expressed dismay and anger about the reported new restrictions for pubs in Wales announced by the Welsh Government today, banning the sale of alcohol and forcing all pubs and venues to close at 6pm, effectively forcing all pubs in Wales to have to close again.

The announcement was made by First Minister Mark Drakeford and the new rules will come into force from 6pm this Friday, 4th December with less than five days notice.

The news is devastating for pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants and means in effect they are losing the vital December trade. It will mean many pubs will have to cancel orders, which also seriously affects small brewers and other suppliers, having a devastating effect on all businesses in the sector. Many small Welsh breweries had been continuing to brew beer on the basis that pubs would continue to open. Beer order for December have already been placed and stock will have to be thrown away.

Wales had a 17 days so-called ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown over school half-term in late October to early November to avoid further restrictions. Alas it clearly failed and the strategy being pursued in Wales, as in the rest of the UK, is putting businesses including pubs into a never ending cycle of closures and draconian restrictions, which is destroying thousands of profitable businesses and pushing many families into hardship.

The Campaign for Pubs are calling for Welsh politicians to oppose the new measures and have stressed that there must be proper support for pubs and all affected hospitality businesses, compensating them for the loss of crucial December trade and through the winter.

Campaign for Pubs comments in English and in Welsh below:

Gwyndaf Jones, Campaign for Pubs Spokesperson for Wales and a licensee of several venues in North Wales said:

“Today’s announcement from the Welsh Government s devastating news for pubs in Wales and the whole of the Welsh hospitality sector. We accepted the circuit breaker on the basis that we would then be allowed to open for December, which is a critically important month. To impose an ban on alcohol and a 6pm curfew is as nonsensical as it is puritanical but it is also basically dishonest, as clearly pubs cannot open and operate under these conditions. It’s also ridiculous that all pubs and licensed venues in Wales have been hit with this, including in areas with low rates of infection and nowhere near any areas with high infections rates. So we urge Welsh politicians to think again but where there are any restrictions, they must fully and properly compensate all pubs and businesses that can’t trade in these conditions”

Dywedodd Gwyndaf Jones, Llefarydd yr Ymgyrch dros Dafarndai yng Nghymru a thrwyddedai sawl lleoliad yng Ngogledd Cymru:

Heddiw maer cyhoeddiad gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn newyddion dinistriol i dafarndai yng Nghymru a holl sector Llety Garwch Cymru. Gwnaethom dderbyn y torriad cylched ar y sail y byddem wedyn yn cael agor ar gyfer mis Rhagfyr, sy’n fis hanfodol bwysig. Mae gosod gwaharddiad ar alcohol a chyrffyw 6pm ddi synwyr  ag y mae’n biwritanaidd ond mae hefyd yn anonest yn y bôn, oherwydd mae’n amlwg na all tafarndai agor a gweithredu o dan yr amodau hyn. Mae hefyd yn chwerthinllyd bod pob tafarn a lleoliad trwyddedig yng Nghymru wedi cael eu taro gan y cloi effeithiol hwn, gan gynnwys mewn ardaloedd â chyfraddau isel o haint ac yn unman yn agos at unrhyw ardaloedd â chyfraddau heintiau uchel. Felly rydym yn annog gwleidyddion Cymru i feddwl eto ond lle mae unrhyw gyfyngiadau, rhaid iddynt ddigolledu’n llawn ac yn briodol yr holl dafarndai a busnesau na allant fasnachu’n hyfyw yn yr amodau hyn.

Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs said:

“The announcement today by the Welsh First Minister will have come as a devastating blow to businesses throughout the entire Welsh pub & hospitality sector. The vast majority of pubs in particular will be instantly rendered non-viable on Friday by the imposition of a no alcohol policy combined with a 6pm curfew.

Pubs are vital businesses that contribute enormously to the welfare of their communities, the wider economy and the public purse. At a time that should be a highlight of the trading year morale is now at an all time low, with many in the industry losing all hope for their future.

This political choice by the Welsh leadership continues the national trend which has seen the pub sector targeted with ever more punitive and draconian measures, without genuine evidence or justification. Welsh politicians are now duty bound to make good on their promise of an unrivalled support package, which must take the form of real grant funding to properly compensate and preserve all those Welsh pubs and businesses throughout the supply chain that will be gravely impacted”.

ENDS

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