Covid closures: How will Welsh pubs and restaurants be financially supported in the run up to Christmas?

Credit: PA

With an alcohol ban and early closure facing thousands of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in Wales in what is, for many of them, their busiest time of the year, how is the Welsh Government planning on supporting the hospitality sector as they attempt to control the spread of Covid-19?

On Monday, Mark Drakeford confirmed they can only remain open after 6pm for takeaway or delivery and they will not be able to sell any alcohol in the venues at any point in the day or night. 

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions must also close.

On Tuesday, pub owners said the measures would 'devastate' the sector.

However, the First Minister said the Welsh Government is offering ''the most generous package'' of financial assistance anywhere in the UK whilst the restrictions are in place.

He said a total of £340m has been made available to support businesses affected by the new changes in the run-up to Christmas. This is split into two funds: a £160m Restrictions Business Fund and a £180m sector-specific Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme.

Hospitality businesses will have to close by 6pm. Credit: PA
  • £160m Restrictions Business Fund:

This £160m fund will enable eligible businesses in the hospitality, as well as tourism and leisure sectors, which pay non-domestic rates (NDR), to access grants of up to £5,000.

£3,000 payment: Eligible Businesses in the hospitality sectors that are in receipt of Small Business rate relief (SBRR) and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

£5,000 payment: Eligible hospitality businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 being if they are forced to close. 

It is estimated around 60,000 businesses, with a rateable value of under £150,000 will receive this support. Businesses not on the NDR system, will be able to continue to apply to local authorities for the Lockdown Discretionary Grant of up to £2,000.

How to apply: It will be delivered through Local Authorities. Businesses will need to register their details, make a short on-line application to their local authority. These payments will be received in January.

Pub owners say the restrictions leading up to Christmas will 'devastate' them. Credit: PA
  • £180m Economic Resilience Fund:

This fund is aimed at businesses who are materially impacted with a greater than 60% impact of turnover as a result of the restrictions.

Its purpose is to support businesses and organisations with immediate cash flow support to help them through the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Single employee businesses: minimum grant of £2,500

Small and medium sized businesses: Could recieve up to £100,000. £1,500 per employee up to a maximum of 10 employees, or for those employing more than 10, £1,500 per employee.

There would be an upper limit of £100,000 for SME businesses with a digital system based application.

Large businesses of more than 250 employees: £500 per employee for Welsh headquartered large business applicants to a maximum of £150,000.

It is expected to support up to 8,000 businesses in these sectors and a further 2,000 in the related supply chains. The grants will be linked to the number of people employed and their operating costs.

How to apply:  It will be delivered through Business Wales. A triage tool will be available on the Business Wales website by December 11 to check eligibility and the fund will open to applications on January 11.