From the alcohol ban to hotel rules: Your questions on the latest Covid restrictions answered

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that new coronavirus restrictions would be introduced on the hospitality sector in the country due to a rise in the number of cases.

The new regulations include the 6pm closure of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes from Friday.

Businesses in the sector have been left reeling following the announcement that Mr Drakeford made at Welsh Government press conference on Monday, with some criticising the plans which could see many suffer heavy losses in the lead up to Christmas.

There are many questions some still have that also included a ban on selling alcohol in the venues at all at any point in the day or night.

With businesses now changing their plans for December and the run up to the festive period, our Political Editor Adrian Masters answers your questions about what the new restrictions and rules in Wales mean"

Hospitality venues will now have to close at 6pm in Wales. Credit: PA images.
  • Is there a concern that by shutting hospitality people will meet to drink in home's where there isn't track and trace systems in place?

Adrian - The Welsh Government’s argument is that, despite the best efforts of hospitality venue owners, when people are drinking in groups of people, they lose their inhibitions and stop complying with the rules on social distancing, mask-wearing etc.

It urges people not to bend or break the rules at home about the numbers of households meeting up and ministers say most people are following the rules. They agree with the case made by the hospitality industry that pubs, in particular, are also social hubs for communities and want to allow them to continue that social role but without alcohol being involved for the time being. 

  • What are the rules for hotels? How can they stay open later and serve alcohol until 10pm?

Adrian - Hotel facilities (i.e. restaurants and bars) can stay open to the public until 6pm and to residents until 10pm but no alcoholic drinks can be consumed in those premises.

However, I understand that guests can order alcoholic drinks as room service. The principle being that for the duration of your stay, your room is your home and there shouldn’t be a large gathering of people in the room.

In those circumstances, room service rules are the same as for takeaway and delivery. 

Businesses say that they have had to completely change their plans for December after the announcement. Credit: PA images.
  • What about businesses that have already bought stock for the month of December, expecting higher numbers of customers?

Adrian - Grants from the Welsh Government are being made available. Some hospitality venues may be able to sell off their stock IF they have a licence for off-sales - in other words if they can normally sell you alcoholic drinks to take away from their premises.

In those circumstances they will be able to sell the alcoholic drinks BUT ONLY for takeaways or delivery. 

A number do have those sort of licences - particularly those pubs attached to independent brewers who sell the drinks they produce in cans, bottles or large containers for takeaway.

  • Are pubs, restaurants and other venues are able to do 'bring your own' rules with meals and alcohol?

Adrian - The simple answer is no. The purpose behind the new rules is to prevent alcohol being consumed on premises where people gather together. So no bringing your own and landlords can’t offer pretend freebies either.

  • Where do betting shops stand under the new restrictions being implemented on Friday?

Adrian - Betting shops are classed as shops so they can continue to open.

The Welsh Government's argument for not banning alcohol sales in supermarkets is that it is not accompanied by socialising Credit: PA

  • If pubs, restaurants are not allowed to sell alcohol then why are supermarkets. Surely it should be a blanket ban to make it fair on everyone?

The Welsh Government’s argument for this is that when you go to a supermarket to buy alcohol, it is not accompanied by socialising. You may say hello to someone you know but you don’t hang around the supermarket aisles drinking with them and risking forgetting the social distancing rules.