Significant changes are to be made to lockdown measures in Wales from Monday, including non-essential shops in Wales being allowed to reopen.
The changes come following the latest review of the Coronavirus regulations by the Welsh Government using the latest scientific and medical evidence.
Changes from Monday include;
- Private prayer will be allowed in places of worship where social distancing is maintained and gatherings do not take place
- The housing market can restart with house viewings being allowed to take place in vacant properties, and house moves will be allowed to take place where a sale has been agreed but not yet completed
- Non-professional elite athletes including Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will be allowed to resume training
- Outdoor sports courts will be allowed to reopen if social distancing rules are adhered to, though no contact or team sports will be allowed
- All non-essential retail outlets will be allowed to reopen, providing retailers can take ‘all reasonable measures’ to comply with the physical distancing rules.
The above changes are to all come into effect on Monday, 22 June. From 29 June, pupils will be able to return to schools in Wales, as previously announced by the Education Minister.
The First Minister Mark Drakeford is also encouraging the tourism industry to start preparations in the coming weeks ready for reopenings if the spread of the virus continues to decline.
Despite the changes to the lockdown measures, the requirement to ‘stay local’ is to remain in place and people in Wales will continue to be told to generally not travel more than five miles from their homes. People will be able to travel outside of their local area on some grounds, such as to visit a care home. The Welsh Government has said that the ‘stay local’ restrictions will be lifted on 6 July, provided it is considered safe to do so.
As lockdown measures continue to be eased, First Minister Mark Drakeford said;
“The threat of coronavirus hasn’t gone away but thanks to the efforts we have all made over the last few months, the number of people contracting coronavirus each day in Wales is falling, so too is the risk of meeting somebody with virus.
“Given the progress we have made, we are able to take some additional cautious steps to further unlock our society and economy. This includes more retailers being able re-open their businesses, as long as they take measures to minimise the risk to their staff and to the customers who visit their stores.
“Our focus continues to be on the health risks of the outbreak, but we can now begin to cautiously focus much more squarely on the wider economic and societal impact the virus is having.
The next review of lockdown measures in Wales is due to take place on 9 July. The Welsh Government has said that at that review, it will consider options for the reopening of self-contained holiday accommodation and personal care services.