Rules relaxed on meeting as pubs set to open outdoors in Wales

Watch the full report by Charanpreet Khaira

Hospitality businesses, including pubs and restaurants, will be able to officially reopen outdoors from next Monday and rules have been relaxed allowing people to meet outdoors, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

Mark Drakeford said at the beginning of April that firms could potentially reopen on 26 April, but this was an "indicative date" to allow the industry time to prepare for reopening.

The First Minister said cases of new coronavirus infections continued to fall, but people making use of the eased restrictions would still need to socially distance from those from other households or support bubbles.

Mark Drakeford has previously said that when hospitality businesses do reopen, there will not be a curfew or an alcohol ban like the restrictions seen last year.

The government also confirmed the current rule allowing up to six people from up to two households to meet outdoors will be relaxed.

From Saturday 24 April, up to six people people from up to six households will be able to meet outside. The total does not include children.

Selma Oran is the owner of Blossom Cafe in Cardiff. With the reopening of outdoor hospitality in Wales she's glad restrictions allowing people to meet outdoors have been eased too.

She said: ''It's really nice news because it will make our job easier.''

''Last year we used to check for proof of address and take orders at the same time, it was extra work for us.''

Six people from six different households will be able to meet outdoors from Saturday Credit: PA

The latest Covid data shows that 12.2 people out of 100,000 of the population tested positive for the virus in the the seven days up to 18 April.

There were 385 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in those seven days.

A total of 1,692,463 first doses of the Covid vaccine have now been given in Wales, with 602,807 second doses also administered. 

On Monday, Mr Drakeford said: "The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

"Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors."

"This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people's wellbeing.

"I'm also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday April 26.

"These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult 12 months.

"It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe."Mr Drakeford is expected to use a press conference on Friday to confirm more relaxations to Covid-19 restrictions that will come into force from Monday April 26.

What is the political reaction?

Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies criticised the speed of lockdown easing.

He said: “This should’ve happened weeks ago and would’ve happened in the Welsh Conservative roadmap out of lockdown.“Labour’s insistence on playing politics, rather than following the science, has tragically left Wales with the longest lockdown, worst unemployment and highest death rate in the UK.“Families, workers and businesses in Wales deserve better and the Welsh Conservatives will cut the confusion, end the political games, and get our economy on the road to recovery after May 6th.”

Plaid Cymru are calling for more support for hospitality businesses Credit: PA

Plaid Cymru called for more support for hospitality businesses as they prepare to reopen.

A spokesperson said: “Plaid Cymru has been pressing the case for hospitality to reopen as swiftly and as safely as possible.

 “This confirmation will be welcome news for some businesses, but many rely on indoor hospitality for their financial viability. With favourable prevailing conditions, indoor hospitality should be allowed to reopen on May 17th to put the spring back in the step of Welsh business.

 “The Labour Welsh Government must follow the lead of the Scottish Government and provide restart loans to enable the hospitality sector to get back on its feet.