Welsh Government has today announced that Tier Four pandemic restrictions are to be introduced across Wales from 12 midnight on Saturday 19 December to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and fight the emerging new strain of Covid-19.

The announcement follows recent news that cases of coronavirus have now nearly doubled across Bridgend County Borough, making it the area with the second-highest increase in Wales after positive cases nearly doubled from 718 to 1,400 over a seven-day period between 7-13 December.

Under the Tier Four restrictions, all non-essential retail, close-contact services, gyms, leisure centres and hospitality businesses will close, and stay-at-home restrictions will come into effect from midnight.

Previously announced arrangements for Christmas will also change, and two households will now be allowed to come together and form a bubble on Christmas Day only.

While the Tier Four alert is in effect, a single person household will be able to join with one other household, and people should seek to work from home as much as possible.

The only public places allowed to open during the Tier Four alert are schools, colleges and higher education institutions. Childcare providers will be able to operate, although any informal childcare should only be in essential cases.

Churches and places of worship can remain open, as can crematoriums, community centres, playgrounds and public parks. However, pandemic arrangements will be in place

You can find a full set of frequently asked questions on the Tier Four restrictions at the Welsh Government website.

Announcing the Tier Four alert, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “While we all want to avoid further disruption to businesses and plans for Christmas, our overriding duty is to protect lives here in Wales.

“We know that 2021 will be a different and a better year. Our economy will recover. Christmas will come again. But lives which are lost, are lost for ever.

“This new strain of the virus is another dreadful surprise in this long-running pandemic. We now have a pandemic within a pandemic, a crisis within a crisis.

“It is another challenge we must overcome. But one we will overcome together. We will continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and, together, we will keep Wales safe.”

The Leader, Cllr Huw David added: “It is vital that we all abide by the new restrictions to try to halt the rapid spread of coronavirus through our communities, and I again urge all residents to follow pandemic guidelines and help ensure that the situation does not further worsen.

“In addition to abiding by the new restrictions, wear a mask where appropriate, wash your hands regularly, use sanitiser and observe social distancing at all times.

“If we are not moving, then neither is the virus, and until the situation improves, we have to do all that we can to keep family, friends and ourselves as safe as possible.”

If you or anyone in your household develops symptoms such as a new, continuous cough, high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, you must self-isolate immediately – you can check symptoms by using the NHS online symptom checker.

If you require a test, the mobile testing facility based at the site of the former Revlon / Cosi factory off Oakwood Drive in Maesteg (CF34 8TS) and the longer-term testing facility in the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH) will be available to use throughout the festive period, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the bank holiday on December 28 and New Year’s Day.

Appointments for both facilities must be booked in advance by calling 191 or visiting the Welsh Government website.

You can also find out more by calling 119 or visiting the coronavirus page at the Welsh Government website.

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