Councils in Wales have welcomed clarity for shops and tourism businesses as outlined by the First Minister in his latest announcements of changes to restrictions.
Leaders have been in discussion with tourism bodies in recent weeks and met with Ministers earlier this week to discuss how we can unlock the visitor economy as safely and as soon as possible.
Non-essential retail shops will be enabled to reopen from Monday, provided they can take all reasonable measures to comply with the physical distancing legal duty.
Councillor Rob Stewart (Swansea), WLGA Spokesperson for the Economy said:
“It is thanks to all our collective efforts that we’ve managed to contain the spread of coronavirus and achieve this headway which will enable hard hit retail businesses to reopen, whilst observing the physical distancing legal duty to protect customers and staff alike.
“However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the virus has not gone away and continues to be a potent threat to all of us. It is crucial that we all continue to comply with the Welsh Government’s rules in order to continue to halt the spread of this deadly virus.”
The Welsh Government has decided to lift the requirement to stay local on 6 July, if conditions allow, which will enable people to travel to tourist attractions across Wales. The First Minister alerted businesses to start preparations over the next three weeks to reopen, provided the virus continues to come under control.
Discussions will also be held with the hospitality sector about the potential phased reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants while maintaining strict social distancing.
Councillor Huw Thomas (Cardiff), WLGA Spokesperson for Sports, Major Events and Tourism said:
“I welcome the announcement by the First Minister, which shows support to the hard-hit tourism sector while retaining a strong focus on safety. As we learn to live with the virus, we cannot afford to lose businesses and attractions which have helped to firmly establish Wales as a world-class visitor destination, and which contribute so much to local economies.
“The next few weeks will be important for businesses and local communities to work together constructively to ensure necessary arrangements are in place.”
Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn (Gwynedd), Joint Chair of WLGA Rural Forum said:
“Tourism is one of the most important sectors in our rural communities, and we know that seasonal businesses who rely on visitors have been severely impacted by the uncertainty due to the crisis. The steps announced by the First Minister gives those businesses some clarity about the way ahead in the next few weeks. We will need to work together to ensure that our communities can gradually and extremely carefully start to welcome visitors whilst strictly observing Welsh Government guidance and rules.”
NOTES TO EDITORS: Please click on the link for further details about the measures announced by the First Minister on Friday 19 June: https://gov.wales/first-minister-announces-further-steps-to-unlock-wales