Coronavirus: Could lockdown be eased to help tourism in July?

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The Welsh Government “hopes to be able to say something positive” for the tourism industry when lockdown restrictions are reviewed in July, the economy minister has said.

Ken Skates singled out 9 July as a possible date for that decision.

People in Wales can meet others from another household outdoors but are advised to travel no more than five miles as a “rule of thumb”.

He said that matter would be considered as “we look to reopen” tourism.

Mr Skates was speaking at the Welsh Government’s daily coronavirus news conference.

Answering questions from journalists, he said that “we will have to visit this question of the five mile guidance” at that stage.

“And at that point we hope that we will be able to do so in a way that does not put at risk public safety,” Mr Skates said.

But the minister said the Welsh Government would need to be “confident that we will not ruin the prospects of the visitor economy for 2021 by prematurely opening up the visitor economy”.

Mr Skates’ said his message to the tourism industry was that Welsh ministers have “that regular rhythm in place, of reviews every three weeks”.

“At the last review point, the first minister, stated that the next three weeks would offer us an opportunity to look at how non-essential retail would be able to operate,” he said.

“The next review point is on June the 18th, when the first minister will be saying something about other areas of the economy.

“And then, of course, the date after that is July the 9th.”

Mr Skates said the difference across all the governments of the UK on tourism and the lockdown was “not significant at all”.

“In Scotland we don’t yet know what the date might be for the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sectors, but in other parts of the UK, governments have said that at the very earliest, at the very earliest, it could be July the 4th for some parts of the tourism and hospitality sector.”

Mr Skates said that in Wales “we have the review dates of June the (18th), July the 9th and July the 30th, and we hope to be able to say something positive for that important sector”.

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