The Welsh Government has announced that some lockdown restrictions will be allowed earlier than planned. The changes to the earlier timetable come as Wales sees an improving public health situation and increasing vaccination rates.
The First Minister set out a timetable last week to move Wales into alert level three. Several measures will be introduced sooner than planned as cases have fallen from 37 cases per 100,000 people to fewer than 21 per 100,000 this week. Hospital
Confirmed cases in hospital beds stands at 89, the lowest position since 22 September 2020.
The planned opening date for organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will be moved forward to Monday 26 April from 3 May.
And, from Monday 3 May, a week earlier than previously announced, 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.
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 re-open 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, because of the improvements we continue to see, we can bring forward some of our plans.
“This is only possible because of the efforts everyone is making to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
From Monday 12 April, the following relaxations will go ahead:
- 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.
- Restrictions on political canvassing are removed.
Further easements to restrictions in the coming weeks will be subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. These will be confirmed at the next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations on 22 April.
On Monday 26 April:
- Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, would be allowed 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 3 May).
- Weddings receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people (previously Monday 3 May).
On Monday 3 May (previously Monday 10 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 allow two households to meet and have contact indoors.
- A small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people are also being planned.