PUB and bar owners in Gwent have reacted to the news that some hospitality businesses in Wales will be able to reopen on July 13, under new Welsh Government plans revealed on Wednesday.

Venues will be able to open in spaces they own and have licences for, if cases continue to decline.

But indoor-only places will have to stay shut, and visitors will be expected to book.

Baroness Eluned Morgan admitted that it would be "difficult" for some pubs to keep to the two-metre social distancing rules.

The rules mean that pubs with large beer gardens could be able to salvage their summers, while those with smaller outside spaces could be heading for more hardship.

Jon Bassett, who owns the Pen and Wig and the Carpenters Arms in Newport, will not be opening either of the city pubs.

South Wales Argus:

Jon Bassett

“It is not possible for us to implement a two-metre social distancing rule,” he said. “I feel the notice given for this decision has been shocking.

“It is not viable to operate a business serving a few people outside.


“We need some sustainable guidance that goes beyond just having people outside. We’re not in the Algarve.

“I understand health has to be the most important thing, but so many pubs are impacted badly by this guidance.”

South Wales Argus:

Tom Musto (above), owner at the The Ridgeway Bistro Bar in Newport, said he is reliant on family dining, which he feels current guidance makes challenging.

He does not know when the business will open, but is planning on having all 30 furloughed employees back and has started work to deliver PPE to them.

“Wetherspoons not opening outdoors is a key indicator of what to expect,” he said. “I don’t expect many people to sit outside pubs to make this profitable for businesses.

“It’s all a bit up in the air still, I don’t know how this will be enforced and how many people we are allowed in.”

South Wales Argus:

Giles Derby, who runs the Three Tuns (above) in Chepstow, said he feels “very lucky” to have a large outdoor area where he will be putting up marquees.

“We are very lucky that we have a sizeable garden area that we will be utilising,” he said. “We’ll have 25 tables out there on the 13th and will be operating a table service only system.


“It’s so important we open as soon as possible to get the best out of the summer, because we are expecting a very difficult winter if we still can’t fully operate indoors.”

David Hennah, who owns the Wheatsheaf Inn in Magor and will be opening on July 17, has used the time to do an “awful lot of redecorating in the pub”, and said while he is disappointed people won’t get to see his handy work yet, he understands the decision to only allow people to be outside.

South Wales Argus:

David Hennah and the Wheatsheaf

“We’ve got the pub to a standard we had always aimed for but never had time to do," he said. "We could have done with more notice really, like was the case in England.

"A few working days isn’t ideal. There will have to be a lot of change because having lots of people outside your premises late at night isn’t ideal. I think we’ll probably be shutting at 10pm.”

South Wales Argus:

Miguel Santiago (above), who owns the Beaufort Hotel in Raglan, said he would also have liked some more notice so he could train staff, and added: “I am excited about the prospect of reopening but I am also very aware that this needs to be done with caution.

South Wales Argus:

The Beaufort has even installed wooden huts

“We will continue to observe the two-metre rule for the rest of the year.

"We will reopen our accommodation with all the correct safety measures in place, then we will allow customers to have drinks outside, and then will we be allowing takeaway dining outside."