WALES will move into alert level two on Monday, the First Minister will confirm today as coronavirus levels remain low and vaccination rates remain the best in the UK.
Indoor hospitality businesses will be able to re-open from Monday May 17; indoor entertainment venues will also re-open and there will be an increase in the number of people able to attend organised indoor and outdoor events.
The First Minister will also confirm international travel will resume from Monday but extra safeguards will be put in place for people returning from some countries to prevent coronavirus 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.
The announcement was the first to be made by the incoming government and was the first phase of a £200m package earmarked to help businesses affected by the pandemic.
First Minister Mark 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 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 the coronavirus 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 from Monday 17 May. A traffic light system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. 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.
From Monday 24 May, a paper-based vaccination status will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof.
However, the 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.