Several Members of the Senedd have pledged their support for a campaign to save pubs in Wales, by calling for an immediate practical roadmap forward for their reopening.
Last Friday, Countryside Alliance Wales began a nationwide push to get pubs trading again, after fears many will go permanently out of business unless they can open by Easter.
The launch of #UnlockInnWales, an online campaign which is led by the Alliance, follows revelations in a recent survey of pub landlords that found a staggering six in 10 believing they will go out of business if lockdown restrictions are not sufficiently lifted until the summer.
Landlords also revealed that they had spent staggering sums – between £1,000 – £5,000 on installing features designed to comply with and aid COVID-19 safety guidance: including outdoor heaters, hand sanitising stations and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, in the hope of being able to re-open.
Since going live, the public have been signing an e-lobby which asks their local Member of the Senedd to put forward the case to the Welsh Government to allow pubs to start trading again.
With a week to go until First Minister Mark Drakeford’s next statement, the campaign has received cross-party backing from several MSs including: Russell George AS/MS, Rhun ap Iorwerth AS/MS, Neil Hamilton AS/MS, Mark Isherwood AS/MS and Darren Millar AS/MS.
The campaign asks the Welsh Government to:
- Offer a practical road map for pubs and the hospitality industry at large to help them realistically prepare for when they can resume trading again.
- If pubs are forced to remain closed into the Summer months, please provide these struggling businesses with increased financial support. We cannot see them fall by the wayside.
Rachel Evans, spokesperson for Countryside Alliance Wales said: “ Pubs in Wales form an integral part of the community, especially in rural areas. They provide a large number of jobs and have big networks of other businesses that rely on them being open for trade. With just under a week to go until the First Minister outlines a way forward, it is vital that the case for reopening pubs and hospitality is made now and louder than ever before. These already fragile businesses desperately need a roadmap forward so they can plan for safe reopening.”