Pubs, bars, and restaurants in Wales will be banned from selling alcoholic drinks, and they will have to close by 6pm or switch to doing takeaway, according to the new set of rules unveiled for the hospitality industry.
Other entertainment venues, such as cinemas, bowling alleys, and skating rinks, will have to close outright.
The measures, announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford, will come into force from 6pm this Friday.
“I recognise just how hard the hospitality and leisure sectors have worked to comply with the regulations,” Drakeford said in a press conference, admitting the new rules’ harshness. “I know the new restrictions will be difficult, coming as they do at one of the busiest times of the year,” he added.
Anticipating backlash from business owners, workers, and customers, the first minister pleaded with the Welsh to consider the supposed severity of the pandemic. “We continue to face a virus that is moving incredibly quickly across Wales, and it is a virus that will exploit every opportunity when we spend time with one another,” he said.
However, Drakeford did not seem to find much support, as the new anti-coronavirus measures, coming just three weeks after he firebreak lockdown in Wales ended, were relentlessly attacked online. Commenters accused the Welsh government of “strangling parts of its economy,” and compared the country to North Korea. “Welcome to your new Prohibition era,” tweeted one person.
Only a few commenters seemed to agree with Drakeford, saying that bars and pubs did help the virus spread.