NEW rules will come into force on Monday to make it easier for family and friends to meet outdoors, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today (Friday 31 July) as he set out further changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.
The latest package of changes follow the sixth review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and enabling more businesses to open indoors.
The First Minster will explain that consideration is being given to extend the number of people able to meet indoors, however this will depend on people continuing to follow the rules and levels of the virus in Wales.
And he will urge people to follow the new rules and guidance to help keep Wales safe and control the spread of coronavirus in the face of worrying trends across Europe.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“We are becoming accustomed to living with coronavirus but we shouldn’t forget the danger it poses. This is a deadly disease and the risk to our health has not gone away – as we can see in parts of Europe where there have been new outbreaks and new measures introduced to control its spread.
“The rates of the virus in Wales remain low, allowing us to relax the restrictions further over the next few weeks but we can only do this if everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on their premises. They have worked really hard to put in place measures to protect staff and customers. And we all need to do our bit too by complying with these and to keep our distance whenever we leave home and meet others.
“To the small minority who aren’t following the rules – we will take action. We’re working with our enforcement authorities here in Wales to ensure they have the powers and resources they need. I want to make sure all the measures developed to keep us safe are complied with.”
A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next three weeks:
From 3 August:
The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.
Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.
The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe.
If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:
Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.
The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.
The First Minister added:
“It is thanks to the hard efforts of everyone in Wales that we have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and relax the restrictions. We can only continue to do this if everyone carries on this hard work.
“If we stop now, there is a real risk we will see new outbreaks of coronavirus and we may have to reverse some of these restrictions to control its spread again.
“We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”