Pubs and restaurants across Wales will be banned from selling alcohol and be forced to close at 6pm every evening, in measures announced by first minister Mark Drakeford which will come into force from 6pm this Friday.
Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls and other indoor entertainment venues must also shut from the same date.
Mr Drakeford warned that without further measures, the number of people needing hospital treatment for COVID-19 in Wales could rise to 2,200 – and that there could be up to 1,700 avoidable deaths over winter “unless we act”.
These newly announced measures hello a previous ‘firebreak’ lockdown between October 23 and November 9, however coronavirus cases have risen 31% from 160 per 100,000 to 210 per 100,000 in the past 10 days.
Mr Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference that coronavirus was ‘accelerating across Wales’ and the gains achieved during the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown were being eroded.
Unless immediate action is taken he said, the number of people with coronavirus in Welsh hospitals could reach 2,200 by January 12. The restrictions will be formally reviewed by December 17 and then every three weeks.
Mr Drakeford said he was ‘grateful’ for what the hospitality industry had done and acknowledged that the new restrictions would be ‘difficult’ as they come at one of the busiest times of the year :’The measures we are taking are based on what the UK SAGE group of experts tells us has worked best elsewhere.’
‘To support businesses affected by these new restrictions into the New Year, we will provide the most generous package of financial assistance anywhere in the UK,’ he added.
The £340million package will include £180million specifically for tourism, leisure and hospitality business which is in addition to various support schemes available from the UK Government.