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Hospitality industry in Wales crowd fund legal challenge over later reopening than non-essential retail

Hospitality industry figures in Wales are trying to crowdfund a legal challenge to the country’s policy on the reopening of venues as lockdown eases.

Organiser Matt Connolly said on the campaign’s crowd funding page: “The argument put forward [is] that hospitality should be allowed to reopen and trade inside at the same time as non-essential retail.

“We have done all that has been asked of us and more with respect to Covid guidelines. We are well regulated and have proven that we are as safe, if not safer, than the retail sector.”

Mr Connolly said the campaign had contacted law firm JMW, the firm which is acting for Sacha Lord, Night-time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, in a similar case in England. Earlier this week a court ordered an expedited hearing of Mr Lord's claim.

Mr Connolly added: “The discriminatory treatment of hospitality has been shocking; hung out to dry with very little support and thousands of businesses and jobs in the balance”, and regretted the sector had felt forced into litigation.

The Welsh Government’s present position on easing lockdown is that outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants on 26 April - two weeks later than in England - while after 17 May it will “consider enabling indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen in advance of the spring bank holiday”.