The same legal team behind the case against the English Government over its decision to reopen pubs and restaurants later than non-essential retail is now taking on the Welsh Government over its refusal to provide clarity for indoor hospitality.
A legal challenge has been launched against the Welsh Government over its lack of clarity regarding the reopening of indoor hospitality.
Operator of Cardiff’s Sticky Fingers Street Food restaurant Matt Connolly, has called for pubs to reopen alongside non-essential retail from 12 April, echoing a similar debate in England. Indeed, the challenge is headed by JMW Solicitors, the same legal team behind Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond’s case against the English Government over its decision to reopen indoor hospitality five weeks after non-essential shops.
The Welsh Government has been hesitant to provide hospitality with a reopening date for indoor hospitality, stating only that it has the “ambition” for pubs to fully reopen before the end of May. Connolly’s lawyers argue that if the government refuses to provide more clarity, it should at least provide a robust explanation including evidence on the risks linked to indoor hospitality.
As it stands, the government will consider reopening indoor hospitality from 17 May. For Connolly, that’s not good enough. He said the hospitality sector wanted to be “treated fairly” and had invested huge amounts of money and time in Covid-proofing venues.
“The failure to provide any clarity for the opening of indoor hospitality is a massive blow to the industry – we can’t plan without a date to work towards,” the operator said. “We believe we should be permitted to open our doors again from 12 April in line with non-essential retail. If that isn’t possible, at least let us see the evidence used to make that decision – thousands of livelihoods are at stake.”
Oliver Wright of JMW Solicitors said it was unlawful for the Welsh Government leave the hospitality industry in the dark.
“It’s a wholly disproportionate approach when considering the other sectors that have been permitted to open,” Wright added. “It’s a decision taken in the absence of any apparent facts or evidence.”
The Welsh Government has until 14 April to respond to a formal notice letter from JMW.