LANDLORDS in Chirk have been left upset and frustrated after new tougher restrictions were announced for the hospitality industry earlier this week.

First Minister Mark Drakeford stated pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 6pm from Friday, December 4 onwards, and will not be permitted to sell alcohol when open.

The new regulations have been blasted by those in the hospitality sector, with many debating whether to close all together until rules are changed.

Paul Rogers, of The Hand Hotel in Chirk, described the latest announcement as a disaster, and says the extra restrictions at this time of year is a huge blow for those working in the industry.

“It was stated after the fire-break that Wales would not go into any form of lockdown before the New Year,” he said.

“Anyone in hospitality has taken this as a green light to begin planning for Christmas and get everything sorted and ordered. For them to do this now, means it is going to cost businesses in the industry a lot of money.

“One of the problems we have is that there were 125 people booked for Christmas day – over the last week we’ve been trying to get deposits, and some people have cancelled because of the uncertainty.

“We could get to the scenario of being just before Christmas and if nothing has changed, everyone will cancel, and we will have spent thousands of pounds preparing and stocking ahead of that day, just to have everyone cancel.

“They’ve got this all wrong. It’s not good.”

Chelly Jones, of Stanton House Inn in Chirk, believes many pubs will have no other option but to close their doors, and is confused by the ban on selling alcohol.

“It’s a bit of a shock really and it’s quite upsetting,” she said.

“We’re banned from selling alcohol, and the sale of alcohol is what pubs function on.

“We all serve food, but we’re not big restaurants where visitors come mainly for the food – our customers mainly come here for a drink.

“I feel that hospitality itself has been one of the hardest-working sectors when it comes to complying with Covid regulations and keeping customers as safe as we possibly can.

“We’ve had the police and the council in – we’ve worked the hardest and yet we seem to be getting hit the hardest when it comes to restrictions.

“I don’t understand why we can still open our doors but we can’t serve alcohol. I’m still just trying to take it in really and work it all out.

“It’s whether it’s worth opening your doors as a pub come Saturday morning.

“I think some will choose to close completely over the coming weeks after this news.

“Restaurants will be hit as well because people cant go to enjoy a nice bottle of wine with their food.

“They’ve just cut out that trade for us in one foul swoop. They could’ve limited the number of drinks people could have and allow trade to come into the pub and help us to possibly tick over as a public house.

“After hearing this news though, we may have to revert back to takeaways and keep our doors closed unfortunately.”

Mr Rogers agreed, adding: “We’re in the situation now of thinking whether we should just shut the doors and reopen in March.

“It’s something we’re really having to contemplate.

“The Hand Hotel is a prime example of how places are expected to open with our hands tied behind our backs.

“To open, or semi-open a business costs money, and we might not be able to make that money back each day.

“You don’t need to be an expert to understand that cannot be sustained for long.

“I think there’s going to be an awful lot of people in this trade of a certain age who might just think enough is enough, close their doors and let someone else have a go at running it.

“The profit margins in this trade are so small and this time of year especially is vital.

“What a lot of places do in December keeps them going until March and tourism starts coming back again.

“If places don’t have that money to back them up during those months, they’re just going to close.”