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COVID-19

The Wales Firebreak

The Wales Firebreak that came into effect on 23rd October attracted a great deal of media attention last week, with photographs of cordoned off ‘non-essential’ aisles a regular feature. But has the Wales Firebreak worked in terms of reducing activity?

4th November 2020

The answer appears to be a resounding ‘Yes’. The regional week-on-week drop we saw in our Retail Recovery Index was the biggest regional drop since the initial national Lockdown in March. Activity levels in city centres and town centres were down to the levels of late March.

Cardiff City Centre has dropped to just 10% of its baseline level. Swansea, Newport, Cwmbran and Wrexham have also reverted to their late March / early April lockdown lows.

That story is repeated across the towns, villages, urban centres and parades across Wales. 95% of the 280 Retail Places we measure in Wales showed week on week declines.

Retail Place

Type

Local Authority District

% Change Last Week

Cowbridge

Town Centre

The Vale of Glamorgan

-60.2%

Denbigh

Town Centre

Denbighshire

-54.7%

Barmouth

Town Centre

Gwynedd

-52.1%

St Davids

Town Centre

Pembrokeshire

-47.1%

Rhayader

Village Centre

Powys

-46.5%

Knighton

Town Centre

Powys

-42.6%

Prestatyn

Town Centre

Denbighshire

-41.9%

Llangefni

Town Centre

Isle of Anglesey

-40.6%

Blaneau

Town Centre

Blaenau Gwent

-40.6%

Abersoch

Town Centre

Gwynedd

-39.5%

Tonypandy

Town Centre

Rhondda Cynon Taf

-38.1%

Raglan

Village Centre

Monmouthshire

-38.1%

Ebbw Vale

Town Centre

Blaenau Gwent

-35.9%

Aberdare

Town Centre

Rhondda Cynon Taf

-35.9%

Blackwood

Town Centre

Caerphilly

-35.4%

Tenby

Town Centre

Pembrokeshire

-34.3%

Pontyclun

Town Centre

Rhondda Cynon Taf

-32.9%

Talbot Green

Town Centre

Rhondda Cynon Taf

-32.7%

Mold

Town Centre

Flintshire

-31.9%

The early experience of Wales gives some sense of what we might expect from the England Lockdown. It will also provide a clear comparison point as we seek to understand whether the different approaches have different effects; most importantly on the ability to contain infections, but also on the vitality of the retail sector as we move into the Christmas run-up.

Ben Purple, Director at GEOLYTIX

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