THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to overturn the booze ban and the new round of restrictions on the hospitality sector.

New coronavirus rules which came into force at 6pm today mean hospitality venues (pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes) are banned from selling or allowing alcohol to be consumed on their premises.

Those same venues must also close each evening at 6pm, and cannot open until 6am the following day.


The restrictions form part of the latest coronavirus public health rules in Wales – and have prompted an angry backlash at a national and local level, including from from pub owners who have already worked to comply with previous regulations on things like closing times, social distancing, and table service.

Speaking on Friday, first minister Mark Drakeford said "there have been no easy choices", especially when these affect businesses and livelihoods.

But he said the Welsh Government had taken the "decisions necessary to protect your health and the health and wellbeing of your family".

"It is my responsibility to do whatever is needed to save the lives of people here in Wales," Mr Drakeford said.

However, the petition, launched by former Senedd and European Parliament member Nathan Gill, says the Welsh Government should not "shut the hospitality sector without providing scientific evidence" for doing so.

"Unless the Welsh Government is willing to publish evidence that shows a greater risk of transmission in hospitality settings, then it would be unfair to penalise the industry once again by shutting it down throughout December," the petition reads.

"This year has left the hospitality sector on the verge of collapse, with much of it being closed throughout 2020 due to the pandemic," Mr Gill added in his petition.

"Christmas trade is essential for businesses to remain open, and prevent many from having to close for good due to a loss of earnings."

The petition (link here) has been signed by more than 22,800 people since it was opened on November 30.

That includes at least 3,500 signatures from the Gwent area – 330 in Blaenau Gwent, 663 in Caerphilly, 461 in Islwyn, 446 in Monmouth, 519 in Newport East, 664 in Newport West, and 493 in Torfaen.

Any petition which gathers more than 10,000 signatures will be considered for a Senedd debate.

A Welsh Government spokesman said the new hospitality restrictions were being carried out "in line with the evidence of what works".

“We have looked carefully at the evidence of what works, including a research by the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) which analysed the interventions in the UK," he said. "It concluded the measures in Scotland’s level three and England’s tier three are effective."

The spokesman added: “These measures bring Wales into line with areas in Scotland, which are experiencing similar rates of coronavirus and are less restrictive than the measures in place in tier three areas of England.

“We know these are incredibly difficult times for businesses across Wales and that’s why we have announced an extra £340 million of support for businesses which will be affected by the changes. This will deliver support to tens of thousands of firms and protect many more jobs.”

Petition figures correct as of 1.30pm on Friday, December 4.