First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has announced new restrictions to apply nationwide in Wales following the end of the country’s ‘fire-break’ lockdown period on Monday 9 November.
Wales entered a time-limited ‘fire-break’ (also known as ‘circuit-breaker’) lockdown period on 23 October following sharp rises in Coronavirus cases in the county. On Friday 30 October, First Minister Drakeford announced that a new set of ‘simpler’ national rules would be put in place following the lockdown period, rather than regional restrictions as seen earlier in the Autumn.
Mr Drakeford said that ministers met over the weekend to finalise the post-lockdown measures, adding that the plans had to be adapted due to the ‘unexpected’ news of the lockdown in England.
The new measures set out by the First Minister on 2 November, to be effective from 9 November include;
- The need to maintain two-metre social distancing and wear face masks in enclosed public places will continue
- The requirement to work from home whenever possible will remain
- People should only meet with their ‘bubble’ in their own home and only two households will be able to form a ‘bubble’
- Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors – an organised activity is where somebody is responsible for the restrictions being adhered to, such as a national sport governing body or the management committee of a community centre.
- All premises closed during the firebreak will be allowed to reopen – this includes restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms and more
- People should though avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. Travel within Wales will not be restricted under law, however, international travel (and travel to the rest of the UK) should be for essential reasons only until at least the start of December.
The measures will be effective from 9 November and reviewed after two weeks. Some of the new measures are still being considered, such as in relation to the hospitality sector, as ministers consider the potential impacts of the lockdown announced in England at the weekend.
The First Minister did though emphasize that he feels ‘people and not rules’ are at the heart of Wales’ response to the ongoing pandemic. Mr Drakeford said everyone in Wales has “an important part to play in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus – and this means thinking carefully about the contact we all have with other people.”
He added, “the more people we meet, the more people are at risk from coronavirus.”
Mr Drakeford urged people to approach the post-lockdown period responsibly, saying “Rather than us asking what we can or can’t do, we need to ask ourselves what should we be doing to keep our families safe. Government rules and regulations are here to help. But the real strength we have is in the choices we make and the actions we take together.”