Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 require a review of the coronavirus restrictions is undertaken every three weeks. The most recent review was due by 22 April.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wales have fallen to under 15 cases per 100,000 people and are the lowest in the UK. Alongside this our vaccine rollout continues to be very successful with Wales having the third highest vaccination rate globally. Over two thirds of adults in Wales have had their first dose with 1 in 5 having had both doses. We have already vaccinated 2/3 of 40-49 yr olds and 32% of our 30-39 yr olds.
My Written Statement on 20 April indicated changes to the regulations were being brought forward to allow any six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors from Saturday 24 April.
The statement also confirmed outdoor hospitality, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants, will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.
I can also confirm other amendments to the regulations from 26 April will mean:
- Outdoor swimming pools and outdoor visitor attractions, including funfairs, amusement parks and theme parks can reopen.
- Organised outdoor activities for adults for up to 30 people can again take place.
- Weddings receptions for up to 30 people can take place outdoors at regulated premises.
Guidance on care home visits has been amended to provide for the number of designated indoor visitors to be increased from one to two and to give more flexibility around visits from young children from 26 April.
Changes have already been signalled for 3 May, subject to conditions remaining favourable. Continued improvements in the public health context and the success of the vaccination programme has meant we can bring forward all remaining elements to complete our move to alert level three during this review cycle.
This would mean, from 3 May:
- Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen
- Extended households will be possible, allowing two households to come together to form an exclusive bubble who can meet and have contact indoors
- Children’s indoor activities can recommence
- Organised indoor activities for adults can recommence for up to 15 people, including group exercise classes
- Community Centres can reopen
If the improvements we have seen in the public health situation are sustained beyond this date it will be possible for an incoming Government to consider moving between the alert levels provided for in the updated Coronavirus Control Plan in single steps.
On this basis, preparations will be made enabling an incoming Government after the Senedd elections to move to alert level two on Monday 17 May. This will be subject to the public health conditions closer to the time.
Alert level two includes the following changes:
- Indoor hospitality can reopen
- Remainder of holiday accommodation can open (e.g. campsites with shared facilities) to members of single households or extended households
- Entertainment venues can open, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor play centres and areas, casinos, and amusement arcades
- Indoor visitor attractions can open, including museums, galleries, educational and heritage attractions, and heritage sites such as stately homes
- The rule of four applies for gatherings in regulated premises like a café (up to 4 people from 4 households) or a single household if more than 4 people.
- The rule of six continues outdoors. Meeting indoors in private homes will still be limited to the extended household only (exclusive bubble).
- The limits on organised activities increases to 30 indoors and 50 outdoors.
Wedding receptions can take place indoors in regulated premises for up to 30 people.
Changes to the regulations today will also provide from 26 April for a reasonable excuse to protest at alert levels one two and three, but require protests to be organised by a responsible body with appropriate mitigations, including undertaking a risk assessment.
The regulations are also being amended from this date to permit all working in other peoples’ homes at alert levels one, two and three.
Coronavirus has not disappeared from Wales, and new variants continue to emerge across the globe. The cautious, step-by-step approach we have taken remains the best way to keep Wales safe.