£2.5 million for wedding venues and indoor attractions still affected by Covid-19 restrictions

  • Catch up with Monday's Welsh Government press conference

Businesses affected by the phased move to Alert Level One, such as wedding venues and indoor attractions will receive a further £2.5 million in support, the Welsh Government has announced.

Since May 17, businesses in Wales still affected by Covid-19 restrictions have been able to apply for emergency support to help them until the end of June.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething announced in Monday's Welsh Government press conference that additional funding is now being made available to support businesses affected by the staged transition to Alert Level One, due to concerns over the Delta variant and the impact it's having on transmission rates in Wales.

This means that eligible businesses like indoor attractions and wedding venues will be entitled to an additional payment of between £875 and £5000 depending on their size and circumstance.

Public Health Wales confirmed on Monday that the number of Delta variant cases has increased to 315 - a rise of 110 since June 10. The variant is now the most dominant strain in Wales.

Mr Gething said: "My priority as the Economy Minister is to ensure the Welsh Government stands ready to kick-start a strong Welsh recovery with the right for support Welsh businesses and workers.

“Over recent weeks, as restrictions have gradually been lifted, we have all seen many elements our old lives opening back up in a Covid-safe way. This can only be good news for our economy.

"However, we know that despite our success in controlling rates of Covid-19 and rolling out our vaccination programme, the delta variant continues to present new challenges.

"It means we have needed to take a phased approach to moving to Alert Level One, relaxing restrictions around outdoor events and activities first, because the evidence suggests the risk of infection is significantly lower outdoors than indoors.

"While this is absolutely the right decision for Wales we recognise the impact it will have on a significant number of our businesses.

"Today I am announcing further funding for those businesses in Wales - such as wedding venues and indoor attractions - to help cover costs as a result of the staged transition to Alert Level One made necessary by the risks posed by the delta variant.”

Eligible businesses will be entitled to an additional payment of between £875 and £5000 depending on their size and circumstance. Credit: PA

Reacting to the Welsh Government announcement, Tracey Jones, Managing Director at Tyn Dwr Hall, a north Wales wedding venue, said that she welcomed the pledge for further support but said that "the news would do little" for couples who are "desperate for a way forward".

She said: "Whilst the news that Welsh Government has today pledged further relief to businesses impacted by the pandemic is welcomed, we feel this is simply an attempt to further pacify the wedding industry and those unfairly impacted by the sanctions placed on weddings in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“The news will do little for our couples, who are desperate for a way forwards. The wedding industry was promised an increase on numbers indoors, but we are still waiting. Collectively, we are seeking positive change with immediate effect to enable wedding venues and businesses to return to a new version of normal.

"We are desperately trying to protect jobs and livelihoods and only by enabling us to fully re-open can we do that. With speculative news that restrictions on wedding numbers will soon be lifted in England, we are hopeful that Welsh Government will deliver the equivalent message for Wales.”

FSB Wales were also "disappointed" with the announcement.

A spokesperson said: "Many businesses in Wales will be relieved to hear that there will be additional funding from Welsh Government to reflect the huge challenges that remain for those that are required to close or unable to hold events at this time.

“However, we are disappointed to see that FSB’s questions on the need for a Restart Grant have still been left unanswered. Businesses that have been closed or severely restricted for an extended period of time need support to meet the steepest costs of reopening, and we continue to call on Welsh Government to deliver this for those firms that need it most.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is expected to hold a press conference tonight, to update people on the latest coronavirus situation in England.

When asked if Wales will follow suit if England announce the lifting of restrictions for weddings, Mr Gething said that restrictions will remain in place in Wales for as long as needed to keep people safe.

"I do recognise how difficult this is", he said.

"I was in a position where when I got married, we didn’t have restrictions in place, as we have today - and we had a great day.

"Now I want to see couples being happy to celebrate that love in their relationship but we’re only having rules and restrictions in place as long as we need to to keep Wales safe.

"I hope that couples, families and friends will bare with us for just a short period more and we will of course look to see with interest what happens across the border when the Prime Minister speaks later tonight."

As Vaughan Gething set out his post-Covid recovery plan for Wales, he raised concerns about the Welsh business support funding from the UK Government.

He said: "I’d like to see that the UK Treasury continues to act as a Treasury for the whole UK, and not simply being led by the position in England. I’d like the most generous package of support available for Welsh jobs and businesses here.

"We know that at some point furlough will come to an end and it’s been a big success in maintaining jobs and businesses, but we don’t want to have a cliff edge approach that doesn’t take account of the reality of the pandemic.

"So I do think it would be helpful and sensible to reconsider and potentially to improve the support available if England does delay matters by a further month because of the impact of the Delta variant in particular.”

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