AS the firebreak ends in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford today asked everyone to think about how they can protect their families from the virus.
A new set of national measures will come into force today, replacing the firebreak regime. But people’s actions will be more important in controlling the spread of the virus than rules and regulations in the weeks and months ahead.
The First Minister is urging everyone to reduce the number of people they see and the time they spend with them to help reduce their risk of catching and passing on the virus.
Mark Drakeford said: “We all need to think about our own lives and what we can all do to keep our families safe. We need to stop thinking about the maximum limit of rules and regulations.
“Coronavirus is a highly infectious virus – it thrives on contact between people. To keep each other safe we need to reduce the number of people we have contact with and the amount of time we spend with them.
“There will be a new set of national measures from today, which will follow up all the hard work and sacrifices which have been made during the firebreak.
“We cannot go back to the way we were living our lives and throw away all that hard work.”
The new national measures include:
- People will only be able to meet people who are part of their ‘bubble’ in their own home; only two households will be able to form a ‘bubble’. If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate.
- People will be able to meet in groups of up to four people (not including any children aged under 11) in regulated indoor places, such as hospitality – bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants. No alcohol can be served in any of these venues between 10pm and 6am, and where premises have a licence to sell alcohol they will have to close at 10.20pm.
- As part of keeping our risks to a minimum, people should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but people can only travel into and out of Wales with a reasonable excuse.
- Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity (such as an exercise class – where a responsible body is managing the event) and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other covid safety measures are followed.
- All childcare facilities, schools, further education colleges, work-based learning and adult learning providers can return to the same model of operation as before the firebreak. Universities can continue to provide a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.
- Places of worship can resume services.
- All retail businesses can reopen, including close-contact services such as hair dressers/barbers and beauty salons.
- Sport and leisure facilities, including gyms and swimming pools, can reopen, but the operators must take all reasonable measures to manage risk and maintain physical distancing;
- Entertainment venues can reopen. These include cinemas, bowling alleys, skating rinks, museums, galleries, bingo halls, casinos and amusement arcades, but theatres and concert halls, nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues are still required to be closed.
- Local authority services can resume based on local circumstances.
- Home viewings and home moves are allowed.
- Visits to care homes will be permitted, subject to local circumstances.
- All premises re-opening will still be required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risks of spreading the virus. This includes measures to ensure 2m social distancing is observed, as well as other measures, such as restricting numbers, implementing one-way systems or limiting the time people can remain on the premises.
Everyone is also being urged to follow the basics at all times – maintain social distancing; washing their hands often and wearing a face mask indoor public places. People will also be asked to work from home whenever possible.
Mr Drakeford added: “Everyone in Wales has an important part to play in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus – we cannot do this without your help.
“The new national measures are designed to protect people’s health and limit the harm from the virus.
“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.”