Welsh Conservatives 'emphasise differences' in Covid rules with campaign from English pub

  • Welsh Conservatives' Andrew RT Davies calls for reopening of outdoor hospitality

The Welsh Conservatives have accused the First Minister of "playing politics" by not opening outdoor hospitality at the same time as England.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants resumed outdoor services across the border on Monday, but venues in Wales will not be allowed to reopen outside until 26 April.

Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies said the decision is "costing Welsh jobs", adding that Mark Drakeford should "follow the science, not the politics".

He made the statement from a pub in Hereford, England, to "emphasise differences" in Covid lockdown rules.

Mr Davies said: "The science has pointed to you can have an outdoor experience in a hospitality venue like this, a pub, and enjoy that experience.

"But it's not happening in Wales because they're being politically naive and driving a political argument instead of following the science.

"Labour are costing Welsh jobs and they're not putting money on the table to support businesses that are shut in Wales. It's just not good enough."

Andrew RT Davies said opening licensed premises would avoid a repeat of illegal mass gatherings in Cardiff. Credit: Senedd gatherings

Referencing recent mass gatherings in Cardiff Bay, Mr Davies assured that social distancing would be adhered to if licensed premises were to open in Wales.

He added: "Here, just across the border in Herefordshire, beer gardens are open, sadly in Brecon and Radnorshire, just across the way, they're shut.

"People are leaving Wales to come and get this experience. I'd prefer [them] to be enjoying that experience in Brecon and Radnor, and keeping people safe by enjoying it in a licensed premises."

The Welsh Government announced its roadmap out of lockdown earlier this month - with target dates for reopening more sectors including indoor hospitality.

Making the announcement on 1 April, Mr Drakeford defended his government's "careful, cautious, step-by-step approach".

"If you do too much at once, if you take too many risks at any one time, then this virus hasn't gone away, as we've seen across the world," he added.

"We are determined that we will not throw away all the efforts that people here in Wales have made."