Pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars can reopen indoors in Wales from 3 August, providing coronavirus cases continue to fall.
First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the date in a long list of changes to the coronavirus restrictions.
Exemptions will also be made to Wales’ 2m distancing law, with businesses that cannot meet it expected to take precautions.
Hospitality businesses will be able to open outdoors from Monday.
Mr Drakeford said the opening of hospitality businesses indoors would depend on how well the initial phase goes.
Campsites, hairdressers, beauty salons, cinemas and playgrounds are to reopen in the next three weeks, while outdoor activities, including team sports involving up to 30 people, can also resume from Monday.
Wales had previously been the only part of the UK not to set a date for the reopening of indoor hospitality.
Pubs had reopened in England last weekend. In Scotland they will be able to fully reopen on 15 July.
In Wales they will be able to open outdoors from Monday in spaces they own and are licensed.
What else was announced?
In other announcements, outdoor gyms, playgrounds and community centres will be able to reopen on 20 July.
Campsites and other accommodation with shared facilities can reopen from 25 July.
On 27 July the following activities can restart:
- Close contact services, such as beauty salons, tattoo shops and nail parlours
- The viewing of occupied homes for rent or sale
- Cinemas, museums and galleries
Caution urged after Melbourne lockdown
Mr Drakeford said looking at “all the indicators together”, the chief medical officer for Wales Frank Atherton “has confirmed we have some capacity to ease the restrictions further over the next three weeks”.
Advisers have told the Welsh Government cases are falling by 2% every day.
But the first minister urged “a note of caution”, citing the example of Melbourne in Australia, which is re-imposing a lockdown after a fresh spike in cases.
No announcement was made on indoor gyms. It is understood ministers are still in discussions with gym and leisure companies about the reopening of indoor gyms and swimming pools.
Social distancing rule altered
The law enforcing the 2m social distancing rules will be altered. Other measures will be expected to be used by businesses that cannot stick to the rule, like hairdressers.
Mr Drakeford listed some examples, including the installation of protective shields, increased cleaning, marshalls in outdoor hospitality venues and “extra rules in relation to the policing of toilets”.
He said: “If you are able to run a business taking all reasonable measures to sustain a 2m distance that is what the law in Wales will require you to do.
“But we recognise that there will be some context and some business for whom that simply isn’t practically possible and in those circumstances what the law in Wales will require is that those businesses will have to take a series of other mitigating measures.”
Pubs ‘have had weeks to prepare’
The first minister rejected claims pubs had not had enough time to prepare.
“This sector has had weeks to prepare for reopening outdoors, not three days. There is plenty of guidance out there for those intending to reopen,” he said.
There was an “anxiety”, he claimed, among the public in Wales “about going back to places where they may feel that their health and wellbeing would not be safely looked after”.
Asked if the delay in announcing a date for indoor hospitality to reopen had risked thousands of jobs, he said the sector should spend three weeks doing things “that are necessary to make a success of the changes that are being offered to it” with outdoor opening.
What has the reaction been?
Welsh Conservatives Senedd leader Paul Davies said: “Yesterday we published a list of 10 things we wanted the Welsh Government to deliver as part of its coronavirus restrictions review, today we have seen ministers adopt six out of 10 of our proposals so we are pleased to see the Welsh Government following our lead.”
Wales TUC, which represents trade unions in Wales, said the announcement “will provide a level of certainty for the sector and help prevent future job losses”.