Up to four people can meet in pubs and restaurants after Wales lockdown ends

Up to four people can meet in a 'regulated setting' for food or drinks in Wales from Monday. Credit: PA Images

Groups of four people from up to four different households will be allowed to meet in a café, restaurant, bar or pub from Monday, the Welsh Government has said.

Ministers had already confirmed that hospitality venues will be able to reopen when the fire-break ends on 9 November.

But the new rules around their reopening were not clear, with the First Minister saying yesterday that discussions were "ongoing."

It is thought ministers needed more time following the "unexpected" announcement over the weekend about a month-long lockdown in England, which will start on Thursday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford laid out plans for after November 9 in his press conference on Monday. Credit: Welsh Government

Today Mark Drakeford said: "The regulations will allow groups of up to four individuals to meet in a regulated setting, such as a restaurant, café or pub. 

"But this is subject to strict protections discussed with the hospitality sector, including advance booking, time-limited slots and verified identification."

The move is part of a new set of national rules, which will replace the current 'fire-break' restrictions from Monday.

The new national regulations will also replace the previous local lockdowns.

The new rules for hospitality at a glance:

  • Up to four individuals from up to four different households will be able to meet in a 'regulated setting' - such as a pub, bar, restaurant or café - for food or drinks.

  • Children under the age of 11 do not count towards the four-person limit, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

  • The four-person limit does also not apply to people from the same household - in that instance, more than four could sit together - but they will have to prove they share an address.

  • The four-person allowance is dependent on how big the pub or restaurant is, and whether it can accommodate a party of four whilst adhering to coronavirus safety regulations. The Welsh Government is encouraging people to keep groups as small as possible.

Places serving food and drinks have been closed - except for takeaway service - since Wales' two-week lockdown came into force on 23 October.

Mr Drakeford said: "We have listened to those young people and single people who told us how important it is for them to meet some friends and other family members.

"Our intention is that the regulations will allow groups of up to four people to meet in a regulated setting such as a restaurant, cafe or pub.

"But this will be subject to strict protections discussed with the hospitality sector, including advanced booking, time-limited slots and verified identification.

The hospitality sector has been closed during the fire-break lockdown.

"As in all aspects of our lives, maintaining the basics of good hygiene and keeping our distance will be crucial in these settings."

He added: "This is a permission, not something we are encouraging people to do.

"It is the most challenging change from a public health perspective and will be kept under continuous review.

"Its success depends on the actions of the sector and each of us to use this permission responsibly and sparingly."

The regulations will be finalised once they had been discussed in the Senedd on Tuesday afternoon, he said.

Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru's shadow minister for economy, said she gave a "cautious welcome" to the plans, but said more detailed guidance needed to be issued quickly.

"There will still be some businesses that cannot open safely or profitably," she said.

"The government needs to provide targeted long-term support for the businesses that need it most."

It was also confirmed today that the 10pm curfew on alcohol sales will remain in place when hospitality businesses reopen.

People will also only be able to meet others from their extended household - formed of two households joining together - in homes and gardens, with house parties, larger events and gatherings indoors all being unlawful.