Some pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in Wales will be able to reopen outdoors from 13 July, under new Welsh Government plans.
Venues will be able to open in spaces they own and have licences for – as long as coronavirus cases continue to fall.
But indoor services will remain closed for now, despite industry pressure.
Wales is the only part of the UK without a restart date for indoor hospitality.
A group of restaurant owners has warned thousands of jobs are at risk in the sector in Wales.
More details on the reopening plans are expected at Thursday’s Welsh Government press conference.
A Welsh Government spokesman said the first phase will see the reopening of outdoor spaces owned by businesses, subject to existing licenses, “if conditions continue to be favourable and subject to the outcome of next week’s review of the regulations”.
Ministers will consider the reopening of “indoor services” later, the spokesman added, “depending on the success of outdoor opening; the ongoing coronavirus situation in Wales and other measures businesses put in place to reduce the risk of transmission, such as pre-booking, table service only, and even the use of apps”.
The move will come a week after the planned end of Wales’ travel restrictions – due to happen on Monday, 6 July – and on the same day self-contained tourist accommodation can start taking bookings.
What is happening elsewhere in the UK?
The hospitality industry was closed across the UK on 20 March before the coronavirus lockdown fully came into effect.
Restrictions in England include changes to shift patterns, mandatory table service and more use of hand sanitiser.
In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants can reopen from 6 July. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to use indoor areas from 15 July.
One metre social distancing ‘looked at’
There have been calls for the 2m (over 6ft) social distancing rule in Wales to be reviewed.
Leaked minutes of a meeting between Welsh Government and council officials show the government is “looking at” allowing 1m (just over 3ft) social distancing for outdoor hospitality.
Officials had considered three dates for reopening, according to the minutes, seen by BBC Wales – 6 July and 17 July were also examined.
Other measures considered include:
- Businesses being able to apply for licences to put out furniture and serve on the pavement
- Play areas in pubs remaining closed
Concerns have also been raised over pubs and restaurants in residential areas, with more security and CCTV needed.
Plaid Cymru economy spokeswoman Helen Mary Jones, economy spokeswoman, said a timetable should have been given earlier.
“Giving the sector less than three weeks to prepare for re-opening shows how problematic the Welsh Government’s current ad-hoc approach is to easing restrictions,” she said.
“Now the government needs to work with local authorities to urgently overcome the planning and licensing challenges that need to be addressed to enable spaces to be created in our towns and villages to increase the space available for outside opening, and work with the sector on a timetabled plan for indoor opening.”