Lockdown Relaxations Brought Forward: The First Minister has announced the Welsh Government will be accelerating elements of its programme to relax Covid-19 restrictions as cases of new infections continue to fall across Wales.
People will be able to form an extended household, visit the gym or take part in organised outdoor activities a week earlier than planned. This change is due to the public health situation and vaccination rates continuing to improve.
A Detailed Timetable
The First Minister set out a detailed timetable for moving Wales firmly into alert level three last week. But some of these measures will happen sooner than planned as cases have fallen markedly from 37 cases per 100,000 people to fewer than 21 per 100,000 this week.
The pressure on hospitals also continues to ease. Confirmed cases in hospital beds continue to reduce and now stands at 89. Twenty-six per cent lower than last Thursday and is the lowest position since 22nd September 2020. The planned opening date for organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will be moved forward to Monday 26th April from 3rd May.
From Monday 3rd May, a week earlier than previously signalled, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be able to reopen for individual or one-to-one training. Extended households will also be allowed again, enabling two households to meet and have contact indoors.
Virus Cases Falling
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The public health situation in Wales continues to improve thanks to everything you are doing to help us control this awful virus. Cases of the virus are falling and our incredible vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.
“Last week, we set out our programme to further reopen the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe. This week, we can bring forward some of our plans because of the improvements we continue to see. This is only possible because of the efforts everyone is making to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
From Monday 12 April
- The full return of children to schools for face-to-face education, all post-16 learners will return to further education and training centres, and university campus’ will be able to open for blended face-to-face/online learning for all students
- All remaining shops will reopen, completing the phased reopening of non-essential retail
- All remaining close contact services will open, including mobile services
- Travel restrictions on travelling into and out of Wales will be lifted. However, restrictions on travel to countries outside the Common Travel Area without a reasonable excuse, remain in place. The Common Travel Area means the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland
- Wedding ‘show-arounds’ by appointment are allowed
- There will be a removal to restrictions on political canvassing, subject to canvassers doing so safely
Further relaxations in the coming weeks will be subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. There will be confirmation at the next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations on 22nd April.
On Monday 26th April:
- Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be able to reopen.
- Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants. Indoor hospitality will remain closed except for takeaways.
- Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can again take place (previously Monday 3rd May).
- Weddings receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people (previously Monday 3rd May).
On Monday 3rd May (previously Monday 10th May):
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen. This will include individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes.
- “Extended household” will again mean two households to meet and have contact indoors.
As set out in the revised Coronavirus Control Plan, a small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people are also in the planning stages.
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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.