Covid lockdown Wales: Pubs and restaurants will reopen on April 26

Welsh route out of lockdown unveiled: Pubs and restaurants will reopen on April 26, outdoor weddings of up to 30 people will be allowed on May 3 and gyms will return a week later

  • Mark Drakeford is expected to confirm roadmap out of the Welsh lockdown
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes in Wales to resume outdoor services from April 26
  • Cross-border travel between Wales and UK will be permitted from April 12
  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities are allowed to reopen from May 10 
  • Outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions to resume from May 3
  • Welsh Government said easing of lockdown is subject to spread of Covid-19

Key dates as the Welsh lockdown is eased 

April 12

  • Schools can fully reopen to all pupils following Easter while all post-16 learners will return to further education and training centres and university campuses will be able to open for blended face-to-face and online learning for all students;
  • All remaining non-essential shops can reopen;
  • Close contact services like massage therapists and tattooists can open again and this includes mobile services;
  • Travel into and out of Wales from the UK and Common Travel area (the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland) is permitted but travel to any other country requires a reasonable excuse, such as work or compassionate grounds;
  • Viewings at wedding venues can resume by appointment;
  • Outdoor canvassing for elections can begin;
  • Driving lessons can resume

April 26

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, would be allowed to re-open;
  • Hospitality can resume outdoor service including at cafes, pubs, and restaurants but indoor hospitality will remain restricted;

May 3

  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can take place;
  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors but will also be limited to 30 people;

May 10

  • Gyms, leisure centres, and fitness facilities can re-open. This will include individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes;
  • Extended households will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors;

May 17

  • Wales would enter alert level three;
  • Children’s indoor activities would be able to resume;
  • Community centres would be able to re-open;
  • Organised indoor activities for adults, including exercise classes, would be allowed to resume limited to a maximum of 15 people;
  • After May 17 consideration will be given to enabling indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to re-open ‘in advance of’ the Spring Bank Holiday on May 31

Mark Drakeford will today confirm a roadmap out of the Welsh lockdown that will culminate in the reopening of most of the country’s economy by the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes are expected to resume outdoor services in Wales on April 26, while cross-border travel between the country and the rest of the UK will be allowed from April 12. 

Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen from May 10 while organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions, both limited to 30 people, will be allowed from May 3. 

A raft of lockdown-easing measures including groups of six or two households now allowed to meet in outdoor spaces including private gardens will be confirmed by the First Minister at a press briefing today. 

In Northern Ireland, up to six people from two households are allowed to meet in a private garden today, while outdoor sports facilities reopen with up to 10 people including children from two households permitted to be together.    

The Welsh Government said that the changes, subject to Wales’ public health situation, were part of its ‘step-by-step’ approach of relaxing rules and took account of the now-dominant and highly-infectious Kent strain of Covid-19.

It said that the number of cases of the virus in Wales was ‘generally falling’ and that pressure on the NHS was continuing to ease. However, the First Minister said ‘we can’t let our guard down’ and urged ‘we still need to do our part to keep this deadly disease at bay’.   

The Welsh Government’s announcement came after it said outdoor hospitality in Wales, including cafes, pubs and restaurants, could reopen from April 26.

The easing of hospitality restrictions will be confirmed alongside the reopening of outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, at the April 22 review of draconian Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking ahead of today’s press briefing, Mr Drakeford said stable rates of Covid1- cases and the success of the vaccination programme meant ministers had headroom to consider more relaxations. 

‘The review we have concluded this week, means we can continue with our programme of further re-opening of the economy and loosening the restrictions in place,’ Mr Drakeford said. 

‘With the weather improving, with more opportunities to see family and friends, there are reasons for optimism. However, we can’t let our guard down yet. 

‘We all still need to be vigilant, we still need to do our part to keep this deadly disease at bay.’

Mr Drakeford will confirm the reopening of all close contact services and shops from April 12 later today, completing the phased reopening of non-essential retail.

The last domestic travel restrictions will also be lifted to allow people to move between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom and Common Travel Area.

All school pupils and post-16 learners can return to face-to-face teaching, and university campuses can reopen for blended face-to-face and online learning for all students from the same date.

Viewings at wedding venues can also resume by appointment, outdoor canvassing for elections can begin, and planning for a small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people will begin.

The pilots will be chosen for cultural and sports events across Wales, including a potential stadium event.

The Welsh Government said it working with the Muslim Council to try to incorporate the trials to help people celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan.

From Monday May 3, organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions for up to 30 people can take place.

A week later, on May 10, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen for individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes.

Rules will also allow two households to meet and have contact indoors.

The Government also said it would make preparations so whichever party leads the country after the May 6 Welsh Parliament election could consider allowing children’s indoor activities, community centres, and organised indoor activities for adults for up to 15 people to resume from Monday May 17.

After May 17, considerations could be made to enable indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen in advance of the Spring Bank Holiday.

The Welsh Government said all the changes would see Wales move fully into Alert Level 3 by May 17, ‘subject to public health conditions remaining favourable’.

Mark Drakeford is expected to confirm a roadmap out of the Welsh lockdown that will culminate in the reopening of most of the country’s economy by the Spring Bank Holiday

People on the sand at Langland Bay, Swansea

Britain’s coronavirus infection rate is now significantly lower than 25 of the EU’s 27 countries as the UK’s daily Covid cases plunge by 28 per cent in a week, official figures have revealed

A spokesperson said: ‘These are indicative dates to give the sectors time to plan and prepare – decisions on these will be made nearer the time, once the impact of other relaxations have been assessed and subject to the health situation.’ 

The Welsh Conservatives have accused Welsh Labour of delivering ‘nothing but poverty’ for the poorest communities and vowed to scrap all social distancing measures by June 21 if they win the Senedd election in May.

Senedd group leader Andrew RT Davies accused the Welsh Government of holding the economy in lockdown for two decades prior to the pandemic.

Speaking at the Welsh Tory conference, he charged: ‘Covid hasn’t just shown our communities at their best, it has laid bare the deep rooted problems that exist in Wales thanks to the Labour Party.

‘Because for Labour and the economy, we’ve been in a hard and fast lockdown for the last year, following a slow and deliberate lockdown for the last two decades. We have to change course, and turn the page.’ 

The party has published a roadmap for exiting lockdown, with Mr Davies saying the ‘cautious but irreversible plan will restore our freedoms in a safe and manageable manner’.

But Welsh Labour claimed ‘major parts of the plan are simply a cut and paste from the Downing Street website’.

Lee Waters, Labour’s deputy economy minister, tweeted that the Tory call was ‘deeply irresponsible’ while ‘people are still being vaccinated’. 

Mr Davies said: ‘Welsh Conservatives have been calling for a detailed roadmap for over a month, but our calls have been ignored by Labour ministers, who sadly believe if you give the Welsh public an inch, they will take a mile. We’ll change that concerning mentality.’

Britain’s coronavirus infection rate is now significantly lower than 25 of the EU’s 27 countries as the UK’s daily Covid cases plunge by 28 per cent in a week, official figures have revealed. 

The UK’s vaccine rollout means it is now in the best position of all major European nations, despite being the worst hit in January.

Natasha Jenkins enjoys the sunshine in Aberavon beach, Wales

A man wearing a face mask walks pass Covid-19 sign outside an Asda supermarket in Wales

The UK’s vaccine rollout means it is now in the best position of all major European nations, despite being the worst hit in January

The weekly infection rate in France, where intensive care units are overwhelmed, is around eight times higher than in the UK.

But President Emmanuel Macron blamed the so-called ‘British variant’ for the country’s surge in cases, saying it created ‘a pandemic inside a pandemic’ as France heads into its third national lockdown from Saturday.

He yesterday announced that all of mainland France will be under a 7pm curfew, working from home will be expected from those that can, gatherings will be limited, non-essential shops will be closed, and travel restrictions will be imposed.

In Germany, which recorded 23,681 cases on March 30, the infection rate is nearly three times higher.

Over the past week, the UK has recorded an average of 73 cases per one million people every day. This is a lower rate than all 27 EU nations apart from Denmark and Portugal, which have both adopted strict lockdowns.

Hungary, the worst affected EU nation, has a daily rate of 882 cases per one million.

In France it is 571, while the rate in the Netherlands is 449 and in Italy it is 334. As Europe battles a third wave, UK cases, deaths and hospitalisations have fallen to a six-month low.

On Wednesday, another 43 deaths and 4,052 cases were recorded. Deaths are now averaging 50 a day, down from a peak of 1,284 deaths on January 19. It also marked a 56 per cent week-on-week drop in deaths on last Wednesday.

The contrasting fortunes of Britain and mainland Europe are largely down to our successful vaccination programme. Nearly six in ten adults in the UK have now received at least one dose.

But across the EU, just 11 per cent of the population have been vaccinated.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens is urging all over-50s and younger people with health conditions yet to be vaccinated to book an appointment now.

During April the NHS will focus on second doses but appointments for all over-50s not yet protected will also be available.

Yesterday, the number of second doses of Covid-19 vaccine outnumbered first doses for the first time.

A total of 270,526 second doses were registered on March 30, compared with 224,590 first doses, according to government figures. Previously the number of first jabs per day had always exceeded second jabs.

A total of 4.1million people in the UK are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, around one in 13 adults.

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