Welsh Government has confirmed that Wales will move into alert level two from Monday 17 May as coronavirus levels remain low and vaccination rates remain the best in the UK.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that indoor hospitality businesses and entertainment venues will be able to re-open and there will be an increase in the number of people allowed to attend organised indoor and outdoor activities.
International travel can also resume from Monday but extra safeguards will be put in place for people returning from some countries to prevent the virus from re-entering Wales.
Earlier this week, the Welsh Government announced additional financial support for businesses still affected by coronavirus restrictions – they will be able to claim up to £25,000 more in support to help meet ongoing costs. More details will be released about this soon.
The First Minister 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 café 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.”
The changes to restrictions, which will come into force from Monday 17 May include:
- Indoor hospitality can re-open – six people from up to six households (not including children under 11) can book
- All holiday accommodation can re-open fully
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor play centres and areas, casinos, amusement arcades, and theatres can re-open. 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 re-open
- 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, in place. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red. This means 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.
The overall rate in Wales is less than 10 cases per 100,000 people, the number of people in hospital with coronavirus is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic and over the weekend, the country is expected to reach the two million first dose milestone.
Bridgend Council Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “We welcome this move into alert level two, which has been achieved thanks to the efforts of residents who continue to follow guidance and say yes to vaccination. Case rates in Bridgend County Borough are among the lowest in the UK.
“It is vital that we continue to do everything we can to keep levels of the virus as low as possible as restrictions are relaxed. With new variants circulating, it is important that anyone who feels unwell gets tested immediately to ensure they do not spread the virus to their friends, families, colleagues and wider community.”
From Monday 24 May, a paper-based vaccination status will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses and need to urgently travel to a country that requires proof. However, Welsh Government continues to advise people to only travel abroad for essential purposes.
If public health conditions remain positive, the next three-week review will consider:
- Further changes to meeting people in private homes
- 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
- Permitting larger-scale events to take place indoors and outdoors.