The Welsh government has announced that the lease forfeiture moratorium will be extended for hospitality and tourism businesses affected by the pandemic until the end of June, protecting businesses from eviction.
Minister for economy, transport and North Wales Ken Skates announced that the extension to the moratorium against forfeiture for the non-payment of rent, which was due to end on 31 March. The sector welcomed the move to give businesses "valuable breathing space", but a solution is still needed for when the moratorium does eventually end.
Skates said: "The past year has placed untold pressures on our firms and our people as we deal with coronavirus, and that is why we have moved at pace to support the business community through the pandemic with a package worth in excess of £2b.
"Today's announcement of the extension of measures to prevent forfeiture for the non-payment of rent builds on that and is crucial in protecting businesses from eviction and securing jobs and livelihoods over the coming months.
"We will continue to do all we can to help them through these incredibly challenging times."
Deputy minister for housing and local government Hannah Blythyn said: "It's vitally important that we continue to protect our Welsh businesses. We know and understand the strain that this virus has had on businesses across Wales, with those in the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors being particularly hard hit.
"The decision to extend the moratorium against forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to the end of June will hopefully go some way to ensuring that we're continuing to help support our town centres and building back better as they safely continue to trade during this pandemic."
UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said: "An extension to the moratorium is a positive and pragmatic move by the Welsh government. Many valuable hospitality businesses across Wales have piled up huge levels of rent debt over the past year, which will be a barrier to viability as they look to reopen.
"Rent debt levels have spiralled to unmanageable levels for too many businesses through no fault of their own. Businesses have been forcibly closed or operating under the most severe restrictions for a year. All the while, they have had to continue to meet costs and rent has remained a very significant one.
"Although some landlords have been helpful and engaged with tenants, the crisis has escalated for many businesses. The spectre of rent debt continues to loom over the sector even as we begin to prepare for our reopening.
"The extension to the moratorium will give us valuable breathing space, but we will still need a permanent solution to the problem."