First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has published a document, Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation, to set out how Wales could exit the coronavirus lockdown.
Under current lockdown rules, people in Wales have to stay at home and maintain contact only within households, with limited exceptions.
The First Minister has announced a red, amber, green traffic light system to define how restrictions on different areas of Welsh life can begin to be eased.
The traffic light categories will apply across Welsh life, including:
- reopening schools and childcare facilities
- seeing family and friends
- getting around
- playing sport games and relaxing
- working or running a business
- going shopping
- using public services
- practicing faith and special occasions
We’ll use a red, amber and green traffic light system to ease lockdown restrictions in Wales.
Our decisions will be led by the latest scientific evidence, with your safety at the heart of our decisions.
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) May 16, 2020
The traffic light approach is based on:
- Schools are only open to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers
- people are advised to stay at home, only leaving home for essential travel
- to work from home if possible.
- Schools enabled to manage increase in demand from more key workers and vulnerable pupils returning
- local travel, including for click-and-collect retail allowed
- people allowed to provide or receive care and support to/from one family member or friend from outside the household
- Priority groups of pupils to return to school in a phased approach
- travel for leisure allowed together with meeting with small groups of family or friends for exercise
- people able to access non-essential retail and services
- more people travelling to work
- All children and students able to access education
- Unrestricted travel subject to ongoing precautions
- All sports, leisure and cultural activities, as well as socialising with friends permitted, with physical distancing
The document explains that Wales could be on ‘red’ for one type of activities, ‘amber’ for another and still in lockdown for a third.
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said: “Over the last eight weeks, we have seen an incredible effort, from all parts of our society, to respond to the unprecedented challenge to our way of life posed by the COVID-19 virus.
“As a result, we, like countries across the world are able to think about how we can move out of the lockdown. But, it is essential as we do so, that we recognise this is not a short-term crisis. Until there is a vaccine or effective treatments, we will have to live with the disease in our society and to try to control its spread and mitigate its effects.
“The challenges we face are shared with all parts of the United Kingdom. For that reason, we have always strongly supported a 4-nation approach to the lifting of the lockdown.
“But this has to respect the responsibilities of each government to determine the speed at which it is safe to move and the balance to be struck between different forms of ‘easement’ – how to prioritise between allowing people to meet up with close family, to go shopping or to the hairdresser, to get back to work or visit the seaside.
“With limited ‘headroom’ to ease the current restrictions, choices need to be made and we want to make those choices in consultation with our partners and the people of Wales.
“That is why we are publishing this document, not as the final word, but as part of the continuing conversation.
“But for the next two weeks, at least, I urge everyone in Wales to stick to the advice, Stay Home, Protect our NHS and Save Lives.”
Kirsty Williams, Education Secretary, said: “As Education Minister, I will make the decisions on how and when more pupils in Wales will return to school. Today I am sharing further information on how those decisions will be reached.
“Nothing would make me happier than seeing our classrooms full again. But I want to be clear that this framework does not – and I will not – set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school. Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do.
“This will not be one decision but a series of decisions over time increasing, or if need be, decreasing operation. These changes will be complex, with many different considerations. I want the working document to be a stimulus for wider discussion and feedback.
“I am sharing this today to be as transparent as possible. I want everyone to know the extent of the issues related to the next phase.
“When we are ready to move into that next phase, I will ensure that there is enough time for preparation and for staff to carry out any necessary training.”
Photo credit- The photo was used in this tweet from the Welsh Government.