CLUBS, bars and live music venues in Wales have said the new Covid restrictions, including the rule of six indoors, will be a “devastating blow” to the industry.

They have have urged the UK Government to reintroduce the furlough scheme.

In a statement, the Night Time Industries Association, Wales Commission said: “In a survey this week of the sector, it was found that the financial impact across hospitality and the late-night sector in Wales is already much greater than the provisional support being made available.

“While it is appreciated that Welsh Government is constrained in their ability to provide funding, it remains the case that the provisional support provided by government both in Wales and Westminster remains woefully short of addressing the economic harm and sectoral need already experienced.

“We urge the UK Government to immediately reimplement the furlough scheme and provide further proportionate support to the devolved nations so that businesses across the UK can survive what is now looking like the toughest point of the pandemic to date.”

The Leader:

It comes as Wales will move to a new alert level two for hospitality businesses, cinemas theatres and public gatherings.

All alert level two measures, including for retail and workplaces and the closure of nightclubs, will come into force from 6am on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said his administration could not introduce further restrictions without financial support from the UK Government.

“I think the measures we have announced today are the ones that we think are sufficient in the light of the information we currently have,” he said.

“In order to go further, the Welsh Government simply does not have the financial firepower or even the practical ways of getting help to people who might not be able to be in work.

“For that, we need the help of the UK Government and I join my colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland in calling on the Treasury to put those furlough arrangements in place for the sectors that are most directly affected by the extra protections that will need to be there when they reopen after Christmas.”

Mr Drakeford also said the £120 million package that will be available to businesses affected by the new restrictions announced on Wednesday would be similar to previous schemes.

“In terms of the money the UK Government says that they have given us an extra £270 million and I want to be clear that it is just not as simple as that,” Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government briefing.

“That money depends upon the amount of money that is spent on similar services in England.

“We may get a bit more than that but we may get less than that. In that sense, we are proceeding at risk.

“But our assessment of things is that because of the protections we’ve announced today and the impact they will have on businesses, the Welsh Government will step in.

“We will use some money of our own we’re able to mobilise and we’ll take the risk that the money that the UK Government has announced turns out to be real, rather than fictional in order to give businesses in Wales the confidence they need.

“If they are not able to trade as they would normally and that has an impact on income, the Welsh Government will step in to assist.”