A CITY centre bar has announced it is closing its doors until the sector receives 'proper support' amid the coronavirus lockdown.

With a 10pm curfew currently in place on bars and clubs in Wales, severely affecting venues which do most of their business late at night, Atlantica Bar and Club in Market Street is closing until further notice.

Senior staff member Adam Smith - who is also behind a petition to get the 10pm curfew on pubs and bars lifted in Newport - said the venue's opening hours had decreased from 40 hours a week to just eight hours since the curfew came in three weeks ago.

“We have a 93 per cent reduction in our takings compared to this time last year, and we’ve had minimal financial support other than a loan in April which we have to pay back within the year,” Mr Smith said.

"Our capacity went from 120 to 37, and we've had to employ more staff to ensure social distancing and necessary checks are done.

“How can we come close to paying back loans and paying for overheads when we are operating a nightclub for just eight hours a week?

South Wales Argus:

(Adam Smith)

“I don’t believe there is any evidence to suggest clubs are spreading this virus more than any other industry.

“We were getting on okay before the curfew came into place. City centre venues were operating until 1am or 2am and were doing staggered finish times. Now everyone leaves at once. It’s crucifying our industry and it doesn’t make sense.”

The Welsh Government says its £1.7 billion business support package means companies across Wales have access to the most generous support package in the UK.

But Atlantica is not alone in facing hardship as a result of the restrictions on late-night venues.


Newport Pubwatch chairman Steve Corten, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 40 years and runs The Greyhound on High Street, says he had to close as soon as the curfew came into force.

“This is without a shadow of a doubt the darkest time for this industry that I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

South Wales Argus:

(Steve Corten)

“Newport nightlife is essential to the city. A lot of places – like us – do not open properly until 9pm. A 10pm curfew makes the business unviable.

“I worry that if this precedent is set, we will not open again for at least another year. This curfew can’t go on. It is likely to mean the end for lots of independent bars and clubs.”

Mr Smith’s petition, now signed by around 1,000 people, is being backed – he says – by most late-night venues in the city centre. The aim is to get the challenges facing the industry “properly recognised” in the Senedd.

South Wales Argus:

“We’ve asked Senedd members to come and meet us and while we’ve received plenty of sympathy, there’s been no action. We’re calling for action now to let us trade.”

A Welsh government spokesman said: “Local public health teams have reported issues with a deterioration of social distancing late at night, linked to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can also make it difficult for people to remember all the premises they have visited during a night out, which is crucial for effective contact tracing.

“There was a clear consensus about the need to introduce a limit on the sale of alcohol. We all have a part to play and it’s important we all continue to follow the guidelines which are kept under review to protect our health and help bring the virus under control.”

To find out more about the petition visit https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244248.