Euro 2020: Claims that drinkers 'staying away' from pubs after 'horrifying' fan zone scenes with no social distancing

Watch Dean Thomas-Welch's report from one pub near Swansea.

Pub owners are calling for clarity as drinkers 'stay away' from hospitality businesses after seeing "horrifying" Euro 2020 fan zone scenes with no social distancing, a campaign group claims.

Simon Buckley, Chairman of the Brewers of Wales, has written an open letter to the First Minister asking why some pubs have crowded fan zones where "licensing departments and police fail to enforce current restrictions," whilst other pubs still have to enforce distancing.

The Evans Evans brewer founder warned Mark Drakeford that the industry is "on its knees, and many rural pubs are not now bothering to open."

Mr Buckley added: "The impact of this on rural jobs and the employment opportunity for young people in those areas is devastating."

Fans' delight as Wales makes it through to the next stage of the tournament Credit: PA

The questions the Brewers of Wales put to the First Minister in their open letter:

  • How can some pubs have fan zones where there is no social distancing, and the licensing departments and police fail to enforce current restrictions, whilst other pubs still have to enforce distancing?

  • Do you believe that what was evidenced last weekend in terms of crowd control was both good for consumer confidence and for general health?

  • Why are people being allowed to mix in close proximity in large crowds?

  • Do you not accept that for those of us who have done everything we can to protect our customers are now facing the backlash of consumers who are horrified at what was allowed to happen, and that as a result they are staying away from pubs?

  • Why are you not enforcing your own rules?

  • Why are people not allowed to order drinks at the bar, but can pay at the bar?

Wales fans react as they watch the UEFA Euro 2020 Group A match between Italy and Wales at Boom: Battle Bar in Cardiff. Credit: PA

Wales fans were pictured celebrating in crowds after the nation won against Turkey in their bid to make the knock-out stages.

The current guidance on hospitality from the Welsh government states that premises must carry out all reasonable measures to ensure compliance with social distancing, instruct guests to avoid shouting or singing in enclosed public areas and customers should be seated in the premises when consuming food or drink.

In his letter, Mr Buckley wrote to the First Minister: "If you are content to allow the behaviour of last weekend to be the norm, then there can be no further argument that restrictions should be lifted, and social distancing should be scrapped.

"However, I believe the consumer needs confidence that the hospitality sector is safe, and the only way to do that is to have rules that do not defy logic and are enforced."

He added: "The hospitality sector needs to get back on its feet and the restrictions of numbers is tolerable only if it is uniform and enforced."

The Welsh Government says it has "pulled every lever possible to provide support" and it "fully appreciates that the hospitality industry has faced extremely difficult challenges during the Covid pandemic".

A spokesperson told ITV News: "This includes providing businesses with £2.5bn in support, and providing hospitality businesses with rateable values up to £500k with a year-long business rates holiday.

"The Covid regulations are there to prevent the spread of the virus and keep us safe. We all have a responsibility to follow the rules.

"We will respond to the letter in due course."