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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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Milford Haven: ‘Unnerving droning sound’ coming from LNG tanker

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RESIDENTS of Milford Haven and Hakin have been complaining on social media about the noise coming from an LNG tanker berthed at the South Hook LNG terminal.

The Bu Samra arrived in Milford Haven at 10am on Tuesday (Aug 4) and there has been a noise, described as sounding like a distant droning helicopter, or low vibrating sound ever since.

The sound is caused by the reliquefication plant compressors on the 163,000-tonne vessel as she is waiting to offload her cargo of liquefied natural gas.

It is not the first time that there have been complaints. Eleven years ago, in 2009, official complaints were made to Pembrokeshire County Council over a similar vessel, the Tembrek.

At the time officials from South Hook LNG said: “South Hook would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the sound residents may have heard coming from the LNG Carrier since its berthing
“This is due only to this particular phase of the initial commissioning as she is keeping her cargo in a liquefied state.
“In the meantime, the Master… will do everything he can to minimise the impact of the sound on local residents.”

Local marine expert Berty Barrett said on Facebook: “All part of living alongside these oil and gas installations.”

Sianie Roberts, a Hakin resident, commented: “It’s really unnerving. Never heard anything like it before for so long a period.”

South Hook has been contacted for a comment.

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Haverfordwest: Primary school teacher accused of 34 sexual assaults

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher was in court on Monday (Aug 3) accused of 34 sexual assaults.

James Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, denies all the charges.

Oulton, who was granted a continuation to his bail, was represented in court by his barrister Chris Clee QC.

The case is listed for administrative hearings in November and the trial date is provisionally set for April 12, 2021.

Oulton is currently suspended from work at Mary Immaculate School.

It is understood that the case does not involve children who are pupils at the Roman Catholic primary school.

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Phased re-opening for Leisure Centre facilities

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FACILITIES at Pembrokeshire County Council’s Leisure Centres will begin to re-open in a phased and safe manner from Monday, August 17.

Following further easing of Welsh Government restrictions, Pembrokeshire Leisure will be opening its doors for the use of fitness suites only in the first phase.

The fitness suites at Fishguard Leisure Centre, Haverfordwest Leisure Centre, Milford Haven Leisure Centre, Pembroke Leisure Centre and Tenby Leisure Centres will open from Monday, August.

You must book and pay for your gym slot in advance.

Without a pre-booked slot you will not be able to gain access to the facilities.

There will be no bookings or payments taken at the centres. In order to make a reservation you will need to be a registered user of Pembrokeshire Leisure.

You can register via the website https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ or by calling 01437 775504, Monday to Thursday, 9am – 3pm.

See below for further membership information.

Bookings can also be made via the website and telephone numbers above and through the Pembrokeshire Leisure app which is available to download on both Apple IOS and Android.

You will be able to book your session from Tuesday, August 11, onwards.

For everyone’s safety please do not attend any Pembrokeshire Leisure facilities if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.

Users are asked to bring only a full water bottle (drinking fountains will not be in use), a towel and their Pembrokeshire Leisure Card for their exercise session.

Please note there will be no changing facilities available so please arrive dressed ready for your session.

Buildings may operate one-way systems and equipment may be set out differently than normal with some equipment set up in other areas of the centre to allow more space to exercise.

Those visiting with pre-booked appointments are respectfully asked to adhere to social distancing rules in operation.

There will be an enhanced cleaning operation in place with hand sanitising stations and customers will need to use the provided cleaning products to clean equipment before and after use.

The second phase, from Tuesday, September 1, will see Crymych Leisure Centre re-open and swimming pools, indoor fitness classes and facility hire available at all centres.

Again, all activities will be via pre-booked appointments only.

Further details will be released in due course, including opening arrangements for all of the remaining leisure facilities.

Currently all Pembrokeshire Leisure memberships are frozen with no payments being taken.

To allow members to return when they feel safe and happy to do so Pembrokeshire Leisure will be offering the following:

If you are ready to return to us:

  • Everyone with a frozen current membership will be able to access the fitness suites for free from August 17 to 31.
  • We will be offering a ‘BeActive’ membership while our facilities have a reduced offering at £19/month.
  • You will need to sign up to the membership using our app or website.
  • This membership will be paid on a monthly basis with no minimum term.
  • It will be available until our centres are able to offer a more complete selection of activities, when existing membership subscriptions will be restarted.

If you don’t feel ready to return to us yet:

  • All memberships will remain frozen and you will not need to contact us until you are ready to return.
  • All subscriptions will receive an extension as Appropriate.
  • When we are able to offer a more complete provision of activities then memberships will be restarted. Members will be given notice before the payments are taken.

More information regarding the BeActive membership will be sent to all members.

All relevant information will also be published on

https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ and the Pembrokeshire Leisure App.

If you are unclear on the process of re-joining please contact 01437 775504.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism. Leisure and Culture, Cllr Paul Miller, said: “With restrictions easing further in the coming weeks the team have been working hard to ensure we can offer a safe, phased, return to leisure facilities across the county.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back members and the general public from the 17th.”

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