First Minister Mark Drakeford has set out changes to the Coronavirus lockdown measures in Wales effective from Monday, urging people to stay local to help keep Wales safe.
The changes will see two households in the same local area allowed to meet outdoors, though while following social distancing and strict hand hygiene practices. According to the Welsh Government, local means not generally travelling more than five miles from home. Only meeting outdoors will be allowed, as science has shown that COVID-19 only survives for minutes outside, but for hours on indoor surfaces.
Other changes to the regulations will allow two households to meet in private outdoor spaces such as gardens, and weddings and civil partnerships will be allowed to take place if the bride or groom is terminally ill.
The changes come following the third review of the Coronavirus regulations by Welsh Ministers. According to data, Wales has passed the first peak of infections but the R rate of the virus remains at 0.8 in the country.
Other lockdown measures will remain in place and tourist spots will remain closed.
Announcing changes to the lockdown measures, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said;
“We recognise what people have given up to help Wales slow the spread of coronavirus. I want to thank everyone for everything they have done – by sticking to the rules, we are all helping to protect each other and help our NHS respond to the pandemic.
“We know people are missing seeing their family and friends – the latest evidence, which underpins this review, means we can make some changes, to enable people to meet again, if it is done outdoors and locally, and people continue to follow the social distancing guidance.
“We are learning more about this virus every day and we know the risk of transmission is lower outdoors than indoors. That’s why, if we all remain two metres apart, two households will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.
“However, a lower risk doesn’t mean no risk. Even in these circumstances it is vital we all maintain social distancing so we can continue to tackle the spread of this virus.
“Now and in the days and months ahead we all have a personal responsibility to make sure our actions don’t contribute to the spread of coronavirus. Please help keep Wales safe by staying local.”
The next review of lockdown measures in Wales will be on 18 June, at which time ministers are expected to examine options for the re-opening of non-essential retail, increasing capacity for childcare and public transport and the reopening of some outdoor sites and facilities.
The First Minister has signalled that businesses across Wales in these areas may begin preparations to be ready to resume operations after the next review, should the science support such resumptions.
The lockdown measures are different from those in England, which will be eased next week to allow some schools, outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen.