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Welsh bar and restaurant shut due to ‘unbearable’ heat

A pub and a restaurant have both closed due to scorching temperatures in Wales.

The Pipeworks Bar said the heat was “unbearable” for staff behind the bar at Pontyclun in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The Stone Crab restaurant in the Welsh seaside resort of Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire has also shut and said it “cannot let our staff continue to suffer in this hot weather”.

Monday was Wales’ hottest day of 2021 as 30.9C temperatures were recorded in Cardiff amid an extreme weather alert.

The Met Office issued one of its new-style extreme heat weather warnings for the first time for parts of the UK, including larges parts of Wales.

The amber warning will be in place until Thursday, when temperatures are expected to peak and could reach 33C (91.4F) in some western areas.

In a Facebook statement, the Pipeworks Bar said: “As well as being too hot outside, it’s unbearable behind our bar.

“Everything that is keeping the drinks cold is making us even hotter,” it said, referring to its three fridges.

“Plus, masks are just horrid to wear at the moment. So, it’s only fair on the staff that we give them a couple of days off… We didn’t ever think we would close due to sun.”

Owner Simon Cole said he was also thinking of the customer enjoyment when making the decision.

“I went there and had a pint on my day off and the pint was warm within five minutes and it wasn’t very nice,” he told BBC Wales.

He said as well as the fridges, he had an ice machine which pumped out hot air and there was no air conditioning. Even the outdoor area which has a pergola was “like a greenhouse”.

The temperature inside the bar when he opened up had registered 40C and a bottle of spirits he picked up was hot to the touch.

“It’s mainly just for our staff to have a break and not have to endure the heat. I think they felt relief,” he said.

“We have great staff. I messaged them at the weekend and they said it was awful.

“It’s not worth the money to have upset staff. It’s [only closing] for a few days.”

The Stone Crab said on Facebook it was “with a heavy heart and with deep thought” that they have closed until Friday due to the Met Office’s extreme temperature weather warnings.

“We cannot in good knowledge let our staff continue to suffer in this hot weather,” their statement said.

image copyrightMet Office

“We have already been under significant pressure whilst working due to this heat wave, and the new warnings that have come out this evening make it unsafe for our staff to work, let alone the hours that we are all working due to staff shortages in the area.”

Under UK law, there is no legal right to leave work when workplaces hit a certain temperature.

However under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers have a legal obligation to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace, although that does not mean they have to provide air conditioning, for example.

By 14:00 BST on Tuesday, Cardiff had recorded the highest temperature in Wales at 30.2C, with Usk in Monmouthshire and Llysdinam in Powys both registering 29.3C, the Met Office said.

The highest temperature of the year in Wales was set on Monday in Cardiff at 30.9C, and could still be beaten on Tuesday as temperatures are still rising.

Health services have issued advice to the public on how to stay cool and safe in the heat.

The Welsh Ambulance Service declared a business continuity incident – where service is at risk of being disrupted – because of pressure on its services and asked people to think carefully before calling an ambulance.

It said the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, coupled with the warm weather and an influx of holidaymakers and day-trippers to Wales, meant it was facing a busy summer period.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said its emergency unit remained very busy and asked people not to attend unless it was life-threatening but to ring for an appointment instead.

Hywel Dafydd, consultant plastic surgeon at Morriston Hospital’s Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, warned people to be very careful in the hot weather, especially in regard to protecting children.

“The UV index is very high at the moment, and so the risk of getting severe damage from the sun in the form of sunburn is very, very high and it will happen very quickly,” he told BBC Wales.

“My advice primarily is to stay out of the sun, particularly in the height of the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm, and if you do have to be in the sun then protect yourself by wearing high factor sun screen such as factor 50 and cover up by wearing long-sleeved light cotton or linen-type shirts, wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, and sunglasses.”

He said children who got a severe blistering sunburn before the age of 10 doubled their risk of getting melanoma skin cancer, which was more prevalent among people aged 16-30.

Excess heat was also affecting transport.

Network Rail said three watchmen were on the lines to monitor temperatures since early morning and had identified three places where speed restrictions were needed, including Llanbister in Powys, where trains were running at 20mph.

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