PUB owners across Torfaen are debating whether to re-open on Monday as regulations on pubs are relaxed.

Hospitality businesses in Wales will be able to reopen their outdoor spaces from July 13 under Welsh Government plans revealed last week.

Venues will be able to open in spaces they own and have licences for, if cases continue to decline, but indoor-only places will have to stay shut.


Baroness Eluned Morgan admitted that it would be “difficult” for some pubs to keep to the two-metre social distancing rules.

The rules mean that pubs with large beer gardens could be able to salvage their summers, while those with smaller outside spaces could be heading for more hardship.

Further details on the measures venues will have to introduce to reopen their outdoor spaces – which could include pre-booking, table service only, and ordering using apps – are expected later this week.

Gerwyn Evans, owner of The Rising Sun in Abersychan, said he would not be opening up next week.

“My initial thought was no, but I then put an order in for beer to keep my options open,” he said. “After seeing what’s happened in England and the guidance has not been very clear here, so we won’t be opening on Monday.

“My main worry is once you are open, you’re open. When you see that Wetherspoons and Brains pubs won’t be opening, that speaks volumes.

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Gerwyn Evans, owner of The Rising Sun in Abersychan. Picture: Gerwyn Evans.

“There’s been no real guidelines about the number of people you can have, the number of staff that need to be working. Then you’ve got practical things like do you use disposable or normal glasses, and what happens with the toilets?

“If I opened my doors and no-one else did, you could have a lot of people coming in. And then you have to be able to get contact information for all those people.

“It’s more trouble to open than it is to stay closed.”

Gareth Edwards, owner of The Queen Inn in Upper Cwmbran, said they would be opening, but he was concerned about if there was a large swell of customers.

“We’ve had three months of being closed so I want to open up again, but I am worried we’ll get a bigger influx of people than we can cope with,” he said.

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Gareth and Jane Edwards, owners of The Queen Inn, Cwmbran.

“We have a big area outside which will be able to fit about 60 people.

“The cleaning and getting customers’ details will be workable. We’ve been out buying hand sanitiser and we have a QR code where people can scan and enter their details that we will be asking customers to do.

“I am looking forward to opening again.

“I have just heard that Wetherspoons and Brains pubs are not opening, so I am worried we might see a bigger influx of people here than we can control who maybe can’t go to their local.

“The main worry is how can I plan for something like this. If it rains for the next few weeks, or if we have to close again, I’m left with thousands of pounds of beer that I’ll have to chuck back out.”

Rhys Bailey, landlord at The Bush, also in Upper Cwmbran, said he was hoping to re-open next week, but detailed guidelines for landlords were coming too late to reopen for Monday.

“There are some rough guidelines out now, but the official detailed ones will come out on Friday,” he said. “There’s lots of hypotheticals but not a lot in terms of fine points on the guidance – will people have to book time slots, will there be a maximum number of drinks?

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The Bush Inn in Upper Cwmbran. Picture: Google Street View.

“It seems a bit strange that hairdressers get three weeks notice, and we’ll get essentially three days.

“Generally though I have been happy with the Welsh approach.

“It will be a case of whether it is cost effective for pubs to open. We have a little bit of space outside, but most of it is not under cover.

“I’m looking forward to it, but cautious as well. It’ll be good to see people again and get back to some sort of normality. You want it to be an enjoyable experience for customers, but it will be difficult for more intimate pubs.”