Announcement on 'support bubbles' and extending households in Wales due next week says First Minister

Wales' First Minister has revealed he has had "extensive" discussions on support bubbles and the option of two households coming together to make a single household.

Mark Drakeford MS said he hoped to be a in a position to make an announcement early next week.

He said: "We’ve had extensive discussions on the issue of extended households - two households coming together to form a single extended household.

"I’ve been particularly focused on opportunities there may be to reopen outdoor hospitality. They are experts in controlling circumstances where people are out to have a good time, but it is very important that if we are able to reopen, it is done in a careful, safe way, has support of the Chief Medical Officer."

Mark Drakeford MS said he had been 'particularly focused on opportunities there may be to reopen outdoor hospitality'. Credit: PA Images

Many in the hospitality industry have welcomed the news that Welsh Government are looking into how some businesses in the sector could start to reopen.

However, one body representing independent restaurants in Wales has said there needs to be a "continued urgent dialogue" on the matter between business and Welsh Government.

Dan Warder owns two pizzerias in Tenby and Narbeth and is part of the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC). On behalf of the WIRC, he said the Welsh hospitality businesses are eager for a phased reopening as this seems the safest approach.

He said now the tourism industry is set to reopen soon, hospitality businesses need to open as well.

Plaid Cymru criticised the First Minister for not giving hospitality businesses a timescale for when they can reopen.

Helen Mary Jones MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy, said requesting a timetable "is not unreasonable" as businesses in other parts of the UK have received one.

She said: "Without a timetable for a phased re-opening of the sector, businesses now face a terrible decision - do they keep staff on beyond 1 August - the point at which businesses are expected to contribute towards furlough payments - or do they start to let their employees go?

"Given that notice periods tend to be one calendar month, businesses must decide before 1 July - four short days away."

In England, adults living alone or single parents living with children under the age of 18 can form a bubble with one other household - which means they will effectively be treated as a single household for the purpose of the lockdown rules.

However, the First Minister also said he did not see mass gathering being an option for the public until at least September.

"I don’t think we will be in a position to allow people to come together in very large numbers in conditions that promote the transmission of the virus. That’s quite a long way further down and I don’t anticipate us reaching that at the end of the school holiday period."

He added: "We’ll just have to see what happens during the autumn."

  • What is a social bubble?

A social bubble allows adults living alone or single parents living with children under the age of 18 to form a bubble with one other household. The rule means two households can be treated as a single household during lockdown.

It allows people to visit each other indoors in their homes, staying overnight if they wish, and they will not have to observe the two-metre social-distancing rule.

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Mr Drakeford also announced a further £100m of financial support for businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

The money is part of the second phase of Economic Resilience Fund starting Monday June 29. A new start-up grant, specifically aimed at young companies will provide funding of up to £2,500 for all eligible start-ups.