COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions
Gov.Wales Guidance 11 May 2020
Coronavirus regulations: guidance - what you and businesses can and cannot do during the outbreak and what happens if you break these new laws.
Further guidance on accepting bookings before 26 September 2020
We have been asked to provide further clarity in terms of whether tourism business can take bookings before 26 September 2020.
The guidance (https://gov.wales/guidance-note-holiday-accommodation-owners-health-pro…) accompanying the Heath Protections (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 was issued on 7 April 2020 and emphasises that no bookings should be taken for periods during which holiday accommodations are required to be closed for the restricted period (unless requested by a Local Authority or the Welsh Ministers to stay open, in full or part, for purposes they specify, or any of the other limited exceptions apply).
All holiday accommodation businesses (apart from where limited exceptions apply) are to remain closed until further notice, unless requested to re-open by the Local Authority or Welsh Ministers for specific purposes only.
The Regulations expire on 26 September 2020 and if circumstances require, a further period of closure beyond 26 September 2020 could be possible.
This restriction is subject to a review every 21 days, with the next review due on 18 June 2020 (although Welsh Government can make amendments to the Regulations if they see a need to within these periods).
No bookings can lawfully be honoured in respect of ‘stays’ during any restricted period (currently up to 18 June 2020), unless requested to re-open by the Local Authority or Welsh ministers for specific purposes only.
As you will appreciate, it is not possible with any certainty to predict when the restriction will be lifted. Business owners will need to take their own legal advice on how they will re-book, (or refund if needs be), any future bookings that they already have in place.
Bookings should not be taken for dates where it is reasonably certain the restrictions will still be in force. As you will appreciate, it is not possible with any certainty to predict when the restriction will be lifted.
Business owners are able to accept bookings or reschedule bookings that fall outside this restricted period, but before 26 September. However, there is a risk the restrictions will remain in place once the rescheduled date comes round and therefore any bookings will be at Business owners and consumers risk.
As indicated above, as it stands, future bookings, beyond the current restriction period and up to 26 September 2020 (unless the regulations are revoked) are a matter for businesses’ commercial and legal judgment.
The guidance is clear that, “Any bookings taken are at the businesses’ and consumers’ risk.”
Welsh Government is not in a position to offer any legal advice. It is for businesses to take their own legal advice on how they intend to approach and honour, (or refund if needs be), future bookings for periods beyond the scope of the current regulations.
Businesses need to make it absolutely clear to potential customers of any risks entailed in entering into the contractual arrangements concerned with booking during this time.