The hospitality sector in Wales has called plans for a strict 17-day lockdown a “severe blow to Welsh hospitality and tourism”.

The Welsh government has announced there will be a ‘firebreak’ lockdown from Friday, October 23, until Monday, November 9.

All non-essential shops, including travel agencies, will have to shut their doors alongside bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

The Welsh government has also announced a package of financial measures to help businesses affected.

UKHospitality Cymru Executive Director for Wales David Chapman said: “Another lockdown, even a short one such as this, is a severe blow to Welsh hospitality and tourism.”

But he praised the government’s support package, adding: “If it has to happen, though, it is very encouraging to see the First Minister single out hospitality for support. The package announced today is welcome, positive and shows that the Welsh Government is listening to us.”

He urged the government to give further advice on how its Economic Resilience Fund would be applied, how businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 will be additionally helped and how the support will be applied to keep businesses alive and prevent further job cuts.

He said: “Once the firebreak is complete, we then need to see some really innovative thinking around how Welsh Government continues to support the sector and that must include a second look at current restrictions around opening hours. Hospitality is part of the solution, not the problem, to keeping COVID-19 at bay.

“We can lead on safe socialising, helping make sure people across Wales can meet friends and family safely in a licensed, protected environment.”