Hospitality businesses gear up for post-lockdown season

As the countdown is on to hospitality reopening, over 40 pubs, cafes and restaurants from across Preseli joined Stephen Crabb in a digital discussion.

In a Zoom call hosted by Stephen Crabb MP, a number of pubs, cafes and restaurants took time away from getting ready to reopen to discuss how they can make best use of the season ahead of them, after a difficult few months due to lockdown.  

Joining Crabb was local MS Paul Davies, representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and UK Hospitality, and an array of hospitality businesses from across the constituency including Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, The Royal Oak in Fishguard and The Ferry Inn in St Dogmaels.

On Monday (July 13) hospitality businesses are able to reopen in Wales, following strict guidelines including outside only, 2m social distancing with pre-booking advised. Many establishments in Pembrokeshire without large outdoor spaces will be unable to open, but those who can are working hard to make it as enjoyable and safe for customers as possible and also commercially viable.

Only on Thursday evening, four days ahead of reopening, did Welsh Government publish guidance to help businesses reopening. This delayed support has left some hospitality businesses feeling left behind.

Speaking following the forum, Stephen Crabb said: “I’m delighted to have been able to bring together so many hospitality businesses in what was the largest digital business forum I’ve hosted. There has been huge interest from the sector and I’m really grateful to Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning, licencing and tourism team for joining the call, along with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and trade body UK Hospitality.

“There is a real sense of a ‘Team Pembrokeshire’ approach to the reopening of this important sector, with businesses happy to share ideas and good practice to ensure the local visitor economy opens safely and successfully.”

“All the signs are pointing to a ‘staycation’ boom for British tourism this summer and there is potentially a real prize waiting for Pembrokeshire businesses. But there is a lot of work to be done in the next few days to adapt to new ways of working and it is essential for Welsh Government to issue detailed guidance.”

Paul Davies MS said, “Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses are the backbone of our local economy and so it was extremely useful to hear more about the challenges they’re facing and how Governments at all levels can do more to support them. The Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact on the industry for the foreseeable future and whilst businesses have worked extremely hard to adapt their business models, the fact remains that if further support isn’t forthcoming, then many hospitality businesses simply won’t survive. I will of course, do everything in my power to challenge the Welsh Government on its lack of support for the sector and encourage Ministers to use the levers at their disposal, to better support the sector before it’s too late.”