(Title Image: © Copyright Robin Drayton and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)
Earlier this afternoon, the First Minister announced what’s arguably the most extensive easing of pandemic lockdown restrictions in Wales since they were first introduced.
The number of positive cases and coronavirus deaths in Wales has seen a steady decline since the last changes to lockdown rules, albeit with regional spikes – such as recent outbreaks linked to meat processing plants on Anglesey and in Wrexham.
“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 to 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.”
– First Minister, Mark Drakeford
As for the specific relaxations, from Monday (22nd June):
- All non-essential shops in Wales will be allowed to open subject to being able to safely apply the 2-metre social distancing rule.
- Private prayers will be allowed in places of worship, subject to social distancing but gatherings remain prohibited.
- House viewings can resume where a sale has been agreed but not completed.
- Public outdoor courts used for non-contact sports (i.e. tennis) can reopen subject to social distancing, but no contact or team sports will be allowed.
- Non-professional elite athletes (i.e. prospective Olympians) can resume training.
As previously announced, schools are set to reopen on 29th June 2020 with a third of students attending at a time.
Subject to the number of coronavirus cases continuing to fall, Welsh Government restrictions/advise on people travelling more than 5-miles from home (aka. “five-mile rule”) will be lifted from July 6th 2020. However, people can still leave their immediate local area for compassionate reasons (i.e. to visit care homes, where allowed).
The next review of restrictions is set to take place on 9th July. The Welsh Government will review how self-contained tourist accommodation (static caravans, holiday homes etc.) can safely-reopen, as well as the resumption of personal services (hairdressers, beauty therapists) on an appointment-only basis.