UKHospitality Cymru has welcomed the recently announced “Longer Term Plan Living with Covid”
Wales will remain at alert level 0 for the next 3 weeks with the current level of protections in place. But all legal measures could be removed from 28 March if the public health situation remains stable.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We’ve been living in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic for 2 long years. It has touched all our lives – across Wales, families and communities have made many sacrifices to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. People in Wales have followed the rules.”
“As we publish this longer-term plan, there is no doubt we have reached a significant moment in this pandemic and we can look to the future with growing confidence that the next year will be one in which we have a different relationship with the virus.”
“This has been made possible by the hard work of everyone and by the efforts of all the health and care staff, public sector workers and volunteers who have done so much over the last 2 years.”
“But the pandemic isn’t over – this virus is full of nasty surprises and we are likely to see fluctuations in global patterns of infection for several years. We need to be ready to respond quickly to any future outbreaks or new variants as we learn to live safely alongside coronavirus in the long-term.”
“We have learned so much over the last 2 years and we need to harness this as we look forward to a safer and brighter future together.”
Responding to the launch plan, UKHospitality’s Executive Director for Wales, Dave Chapman, commented: “The hospitality sector was hit first, hardest and longest by the pandemic and so we welcome this shift to a more long-term focus and more sustainable way of living and working. Footfall remains low, however, particularly in high-street and city centre locations and so we would urge the Welsh Government to remove its guidance to continue to work from home, in order to revive our once vibrant high streets.
“Business is by no means back to pre-pandemic levels yet and, as we approach the second anniversary of the first lockdown, the Welsh hospitality sector still faces huge challenges. Businesses remain fragile and are carrying large amounts of debt. With costs rising across the board and a VAT rise due this April – just as the wider cost of living crisis is set to bite – businesses in the sector still need support. At the very least, we need the UK Government to commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% beyond April.”