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SOME pubs can reopen on July 13

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PUBS, cafes and restaurants in Wales can re-open on July 13.
Or, at least, some can.

In a move heavily trailed by the First Minister at his Monday press conference (June 29), pubs, cafes, and restaurants which can serve customers in outdoor spaces they own or pub gardens will be allowed to open for customers on July 13.

The Welsh Government has not announced when indoor trade will be allowed to open.

OUTDOOR OPENING ONLY

The decision follows a torrent of criticism directed at the Welsh Government over its failure to provide a roadmap for reopening the hospitality trade. The industry is linked intimately with Wales’ tourist sector.

That failure was condemned by pub and restaurant owners and opposition spokespersons as evidence of dither, delay, and doing things differently for their own sakes.

Every other UK administration has either already set a clear route out for pubs and restaurants or already reopened them.

Speaking on Monday, the First Minister said: “I hope that [ongoing discussions] are productive and profitable about how pubs and restaurants can safely reopen in the outdoors. And with the mitigating measures that will need to be in place in order to allow that to happen safely.”

The First Minister continued: “We’re getting to the point now where we have a definitive list of the measures that the sector is proposing. And we will need to put that to the Chief Medical Officer, and those who advise us on the science of coronavirus to get their view as to whether or not the proposals amount to a safe reopening that could be recommended.”

The treatment of the consultation with the hospitality industry, suggests the Welsh Government did not join the dots to connect cafes, pubs, and restaurants importance to Wales’ tourism and foodservice industries.

The First Minister said on Monday ‘a rapid review’ would take place over ‘the next couple of days’ with the Government scientific and medical advisors.

However, guidance released without fanfare on the Welsh Government website the same day set out the plan to reopen pubs and restaurants but allow only outdoor service.

COUNCILS LOOK TO FUTURE

Several surveys of those planning ‘staycations’ revealed a majority would only travel to areas where pubs and restaurants were open.

With Wales’ beleaguered coastal and rural economies facing a double whammy of losing over half the tourist season and then being out-competed for tourism pounds by other parts of the UK, something had to give.

With a clear eye on the future of the sector, several local authorities – including Pembrokeshire – have opened consultations on ‘café culture’

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Licensing, Phil Baker, said: “Given the Covid-19 regulations it is likely many more establishments will be considering the possibilities of utilising outdoor spaces.

“We would urge those running cafes, public houses, restaurants etc to think about how Café Culture could work for their premises and to get in touch so we can understand the demand and get the necessary plans in place.”

Following the Welsh Government’s announcement, it is possible – if not likely – the Council will reconsider the closing date for applications to the scheme.

WG’s APPROACH ‘PROBLEMATIC’ AND ‘FOOT-DRAGGING’

Helen Mary Jones MS, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy Minister, responded to the announcement on Thursday morning: “While the news that we have a date now for outdoor opening is welcome, a timetable could have been shared with the sector earlier. Giving pubs, restaurants, and cafes less than two weeks to prepare for re-opening shows how problematic the Welsh Government’s current ad-hoc approach is to easing restrictions.

“The Welsh Government needs to be planning much further ahead and making clear which restrictions are expected to be lifted in the weeks and months ahead.”

Ms Jones continued: “The Government must work with local authorities to urgently overcome the planning and licensing challenges that need to be addressed, enabling spaces to be created in our towns and villages to increase the space available for outside opening, and to work with the sector on a timetabled plan for indoor opening.

“Some businesses may not be able to open for some months to come. They will need longer term support, and they need to know from the Welsh and UK Governments now what that support will look like: we can’t afford to lose them.”
The Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Covid Recovery – Darren Millar MS – commented: “This announcement will be welcome news for some businesses in the hospitality sector across Wales but without a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rules and the ability to use indoor spaces, it still won’t be viable for many businesses.

“Unfortunately, the Labour-led Welsh Government’s foot dragging has come too late for some businesses which have already laid off staff and closed permanently due to the prolonged uncertainty and I suspect that without a clear timetable for indoor services others will too.”

He added: “The Labour-led administration should also consider bringing forward the days on which it relaxes its restrictions to Fridays. Too many weekends have already been lost due to Ministers always introducing changes to restrictions on Mondays causing people to lose the benefit of an important weekend of trade.”

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Police appeal after man found dead near Kilgetty roundabout

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POLICE in Pembrokeshire are  investigating the sudden death of a man in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire.

The man, aged in his 60s, is often seen on or near Kilgetty roundabout. Concerns for his welfare were raised this morning (Saturday, Nov 28) and sadly, a body was found near the Kilgetty roundabout a short while later.

Police said: “Anyone with information that could help piece together the circumstances surrounding his death, which is being treated as unexplained, is asked to contact police.

“Though formal identification has not yet taken place, the man’s next of kin has been informed. HM Coroner is also aware.

“Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20201128-076.”

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Garage planning appeal dismissed

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A PLANNING inspector has upheld a Pembrokeshire County Council decision to refuse planning permission for a detached garage.

The Inspector dismissed the appeal by Mr Peter Baker against the Council’s decision to refuse the proposed development at Amroth Road, Ludchurch.

Planning Inspector J P Tudor agreed that the development would cause unacceptable harm on the character and appearance of the area.

The planned garage was to be placed in front of a detached bungalow.

Other properties nearby generally have garages situated to the side or rear or integrated into the main building.

The Inspector said: “Given its size and position, the garage would appear prominent in public views along the highway and be noticeable from neighbouring properties. It would compromise the existing sense of space and openness to the front of most dwellings.

“Therefore, the development would have an adverse effect on the character an appearance of the area.”

The appeal was dismissed.

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New guidelines for hospital visiting during Coronavirus outbreak

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NEW revised NHS Wales hospital visiting guidance during the coronavirus outbreak will be published on Monday 30 November 2020. This supersedes previously published guidance.

The revised guidance sets out the baseline for visiting in Wales during the pandemic, but allows health boards, trusts and hospices to have more flexibility to depart from the guidance.

This flexibility is due to the changing picture of coronavirus transmission across Wales, with significant variations in community transmission across different parts of the country and differences in the rate of nosocomial transmission.

The new guidelines allow health care providers to asses local factors and work with local infection prevention and control teams and Public Health Wales when agreeing visiting arrangements.

Healthcare providers may depart from the guidance in response to:

  • rising levels of covid-19 transmission in their localities, including levels which result in a national lockdown and/or evidence of nosocomial transmission in a particular setting; or
  • falling levels of transmission in their local area.

In addition to allowing for this flexibility the revised guidance has been amended for maternity services after listening to feedback from women and families and consulting with Heads of Midwifery and Sonography/Radiography Services. Visiting in maternity services will now be based on a risk assessment approach by health boards. This will take into consideration local environmental factors such as room sizes, ability to socially distance and infection prevention and control risks in enabling partners to safely accompany pregnant women and new mothers. This risk assessed approach should be taken in collaboration with relevant health professionals, local infection prevention and control teams and Public Health Wales. All women will be supported to have at least one partner with them during active labour, birth and for the period immediately after the birth, except in an extremely limited number of circumstances.

The updated guidelines also recognise that some people may require an essential support assistant for specific additional support eg a support worker or interpreter. Essential support assistants will not to be classed as visitors, in some circumstances, where people receive care and support from a family member or partner, they may nominate this person as their essential support assistant.

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething, said: “We recognise that the restrictions on visiting has a huge impact on patients, their families and loves ones. We have announced further changes to the guidelines today to provide health boards, trusts and hospices with flexibility to depart from the guidelines in response to local levels of Covid-19 transmission. It is important to remember that the virus has not gone away and the health, safety and wellbeing of patients, communities and NHS staff remains an absolute priority for both the Welsh Government and health care providers. Tough choices will still need to be made but we hope the revised guidelines will allow more flexibility for health care providers. ”

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