Nightclubs and live music venues in Wales won't reopen until at least July

nightclub back of queue to reopen credit PA / ITV News
One nightclub manager in Cardiff said he is "devastated" about nightclubs being the last to reopen. Credit: PA/ITV Wales

Nightclubs and live music venues in Wales will not reopen until at least July, the First Minister has said.

It comes after Mark Drakeford confirmed that indoor hospitality could reopen for groups of up to six on Monday, as part of further lockdown easing.

Wales will move into alert level 2 on 17 May, with all remaining holiday accommodation, indoor visitor attractions and entertainment venues also allowed to reopen.

But Mr Drakeford warned that Covid "thrives" in indoor settings where social distancing is less possible, therefore clubs would come "towards the end of the reopening queue".

Mr Drakeford warned that as coronavirus "thrives" in places where people are unable to socially distance Credit: PA

Asked if a certain percentage of young people would need to receive a jab before clubs could open, Mr Drakeford said: "As of yesterday, 56% of people in their 30s had already received a first dose of a vaccine, and 37% of people in their 20s had received a first dose.

"That number is going to keep on rising and rise pretty quickly over the weeks ahead.

"So every week that goes by does extend the protection that vaccination offers to younger people, and that does mean that the reopening of some of those live venues will get closer.

"But the virus thrives in indoor settings, it thrives when people are close together, it thrives when people spend time together, and it thrives in places where ventilation is not a particularly strong feature of the venue.

"That's not far off describing a nightclub. So it's just inevitable those venues will come towards the end of the reopening queue.

"We're probably talking about the three-week cycle that will happen towards the end of June and into July before active consideration of those venues begins to happen."

On Friday, the First Minister said it is likely that Covid safety measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing would stay in place beyond the summer months.

One nightclub manager in Cardiff said he is "devastated" about nightclubs being the last to reopen.

Pryzm Cardiff was one of the first venues to close when the pandemic started.

Area manager Graeme Dasilva said: "We really need a clear roadmap from the First Minister to let us know when we can reopen as a nightclub. Most importantly, when we can reopen without any restrictions."

Speaking of his frustration, he added: "In our opinion, a pub or restaurant at midnight on a Friday night, is no different to a nightclub at midnight on a Friday night."

Earlier this month, around 5,000 people packed into Sefton Park in Liverpool for a pilot music festival as part of the UK Government's Events Research Programme (ERP), which is being used by researchers to examine how to safely resume live events.

Businesses whose ability to trade continues to be affected by restrictions will be able to access a £66 million support fund in place until the end of June.

"It's a two-pronged strategy, really," Mr Drakeford explained.

"Supporting them while they are not able to open fully, hoping that if we keep the virus suppressed successfully, as we have at the moment, that we will be able to lift those restrictions further so they will be able to welcome more people back to those venues.

"But doing things in the way we are is for businesses advantage as well.

"I've had many hospitality businesses say to me that to give people confidence to come back and start booking tables or visiting pubs they will want to know that all reasonable precautions have been taken to keep them safe."

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