The travel restrictions are lifting and we're free to enjoy Wales and the Borders again. To the delight of local businesses
Business owners in Wales are breathing a huge sigh of relief following clarity from the Welsh Government on when and how they can reopen.
Monday 6th July marks the first big milestone on the road out of lockdown, after confirmation today that the five-mile travel restriction in Wales is to be lifted, effectively opening the Welsh Border to the rest of the UK. It means locals and visitors alike will once again be able to enjoy the region which has seen some of the the strictest lockdown measures disproportionately affecting otherwise close neighbours.
The inequality isn't over, but after a frustrating period watching rivals open east of Offa’s Dyke from this weekend, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in Wales will be able to reopen outdoors from 13th July. You'll need to be organised, however, as even drinkers will need to book tables, let alone diners.
Another boost for tourism is confirmation that self-contained accommodation will now be allowed to open from Saturday 11th July. The date has been brought forward from the 13th July - when many hotels in Wales are reopening - to allow accommodation owners to let their properties from Saturday to Saturday.
With outdoor attractions set to begin opening from 6th July, many businesses are gearing up to take full advantage after more than three months of lost revenue. Ceri Graham, owner of Artisans cafe by Lake Vyrnwy (pictured), has had to sit and wait while the lake and surrounding site has been closed to all but local residents. But now she's preparing to welcome visitors with takeaway food and drink.
“We've been closed for 14 weeks and it's been the biggest challenge we've ever faced as a business,” reveals Ceri. “It floored us and was unthinkable as 2020 began. Yet as we prepare to re-open for takeaway on 6th July it's with a sense of revitalised and renewed energy alongside the trepidation of what’s to come.
"Things are different and we have so many new ways of working. Having said that, above all else I’m looking forward to bringing my much missed team back together and welcoming back all of our customers.”
Wales remains the only part of the UK without a restart date for indoor hospitality, but the mood among businesses owners is it's a start. The mood among locals and visitors, meanwhile, will be one of freedom to enjoy the region again.