Wales will move to alert level two on Monday with the reopening of indoor hospitality and entertainment venues, First Minster Mark Drakeford has said.
Mr Drakeford said the lowering of the country’s alert level was prompted by levels of coronavirus remaining low and vaccination rates the highest in the UK.
According to the UK Government’s Covid-19 tracker, Wales’ seven-day rate is 9.2 per 100,000 people – significantly lower than England on 22.1, Scotland on 23.8, and Northern Ireland on 32.6
Monday’s reopening of indoor service for pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes as well as entertainment venues like cinemas will come alongside allowing up to 30 people to take part in organised indoor events and up to 50 people in organised outdoor events.
Mr Drakeford will confirm at Friday’s press briefing that international travel will also resume from Monday, but extra safeguards will be put in place to prevent the virus re-entering Wales and the Welsh Government advises people to only travel abroad for essential purposes.
Mr Drakeford said: “Thanks to everyone’s hard work and ongoing efforts, we can take another step towards relaxing the coronavirus restrictions and move to alert level two on Monday.
“Indoor hospitality will be able to reopen, a move that will be welcomed by many of us as we look forward to enjoying a drink, a meal and the company of friends and family in a cafe or pub.
“By sticking with the rules and our successful vaccine programme, we are making really good progress in controlling the virus and keeping rates low.
“But the pandemic isn’t over – the new, so-called Indian variant of concern is another unwanted twist in this pandemic, which we are monitoring closely.”
Earlier this week, the Welsh Government announced businesses still affected by restrictions can claim additional financial support of up to £25,000 to help meet ongoing costs.
If public health conditions remain positive, the next three-week review will consider allowing more people to meet in homes.
It will also look at increasing the number of people who can meet outdoors and the number of people who can attend organised activities and events, including wedding receptions, to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, as well as allowing larger-scale events to take place indoors and outdoors.
Changes to the Covid-19 restrictions in Wales from Monday include:
– Indoor hospitality can reopen with six people from up to six households, not including children under 11, able to book.
– All holiday accommodation can reopen
– Entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor-play centres and areas, casinos, amusement arcades, and theatres can reopen.
– Cinemas, theatres concert halls and sports grounds can sell food and drink as long as it is consumed in a seated area for watching the performance
– Indoor visitor attractions, including museums and galleries, can reopen
– Up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities. This includes wedding receptions and wakes
– International travel will resume with a traffic light system aligned with England and Scotland. People living in Wales will be able to travel to a small number of foreign destinations without the need to quarantine on their return. Mandatory quarantine for countries not on the green list remains in place.