(Title Image: ITV Wales)
Despite indications lockdown in Wales will be eased before the end of June, for the next three weeks the lockdown remains in place – albeit with relaxations to allow friends and family to socialise outdoors.
The changes include:
- People from no more than two different households can meet outdoors – including private gardens – as long as people remain 2 metres from each other and it’s a local visit, meaning within 5 miles as a general rule. This isn’t permission to hold garden parties and means nothing more than brief visits.
- Weddings and civil partnerships can take place if either the bride(s) or groom(s) is/are terminally ill.
The reason why socialising is being restricted to outdoors only is scientific evidence that Covid-19 survives longer on indoor environments than outdoor environments.
“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 2 metres apart, 2 households will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.
“However, 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.”
– First Minister, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West)
All other restrictions remain in place, including fines for being in public without a reasonable excuse (such as extended day trips; tourist destinations remain closed) and strict social distancing measures in workplaces and supermarkets.
As mentioned, there are signs that Wales could see a more substantial easing of lockdown before the end of June.
Non-essential retailers (retailers which have had to remain closed during the lockdown, such as hairdressers, clothes shops etc.) have been told by the Welsh Government to make preparations to safely reopen ahead of next review.
The Welsh Government will also consider opening more outdoor spaces to the public (i.e. sports courts, showrooms, outdoor markets), opening more facilities for elite athletes to train, extending public transport and childcare as well as safely allowing people to move house.
The next review will take place on 18th June and would probably come into effect w/c 22nd June.
In response, the Conservatives criticised the “5-mile rule” for household visits as being arbitrary and unfairly limiting people living in rural areas (who may have to travel much further than 5 miles to visit another household).
Plaid Cymru – whilst welcoming the cautious approach but describing the 5-mile rule as “impractical” – called for a clearer roadmap as to when restrictions will be lifted, saying the traffic light system lacked detail.