Myles Langstone, the Welsh Conservative Senedd Candidate for Gower, has called for a “rethink” on outdoor hospitality after yet more scenes of anti-social behaviour and large gatherings across Wales.
Under Labour’s current plan, outdoor hospitality will not reopen in Wales until 26th April, but the Welsh Conservatives believe this should be accelerated.
At his Downing Street briefing on Monday evening, the Prime Minister confirmed that he will be lifting the lockdown in England on Monday 12th April to allow hospitality businesses including restaurants, pubs and cafes to reopen outdoors.
Myles Langstone says that the issues experienced in Gower show that the opening up of outdoor hospitality needs to be replicated in Wales. He said:
"Over recent weeks we have seen huge gatherings and issues related to public drinking. Residents are understandably frustrated, particularly given the noise pollution and mass amounts of litter that has been left behind at our beach locations.
"Reopening beer gardens, outdoor dining and areas like Southend Gardens in Mumbles can help to provide part of the solution to the issues we have seen across Gower and Swansea. By reopening outdoor hospitality, people will be in designated licenced spaces and environments which are far more controlled in terms of being Covid-secure, following the hard work by local businesses to put Covid-safe measures in place.
"This would be a sensible approach and the Welsh Government need to act quickly to ensure that hospitality can open outdoors by 12th April. By waiting until 26th April, we will be in for three more weeks of issues, litter, disturbances and gatherings which do nothing to slow the spread of Coronavirus."
Commenting, Welsh Conservatives' shadow economy spokesperson, Russell George said:
“Labour ministers must have a rethink on outdoor hospitality.
“The huge gatherings we are seeing across Wales brings a number of challenges not just in the fight against coronavirus, from littering to anti-social behaviour.
“It’s going to be a very long month if we have decent weather and ministers need to view outdoor licenced premises with their various facilities and experience as part of the solution, not the problem.
“We’ve made great progress on case rates and the vaccination programme, and it would be a shame to see this work undone with gatherings which can’t be managed safely and effectively.
“Wales' licensed premises have vast experience managing customers and have invested significant sums of money into making their facilities covid-secure.
“Let’s trust business and let's ensure we continue on the path of reopening Wales in a safe and manageable manner.”