Health

Wales to ease Covid restrictions on outdoor mixing and hospitality


Six people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday and outdoor hospitality will be allowed to open from next Monday, the Welsh government has announced.

Under the current rules, up to six people (not including children under 11 or carers) from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors.

The new rules mean that from Saturday six people (again not including under-11s or carers) from any number of households will be able to get together in the fresh air. Social distancing must still take place when meeting someone from outside a household or social bubble, the government said.

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said on Monday night: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April. These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult 12 months.”

Drakeford has come under pressure from some quarters to speed up Wales’s exit from lockdown.

On Monday, the Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, called for indoor hospitality to reopen on 17 May – in line with plans for England and Scotland.

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He said: “The hospitality sector has suffered more than most since the beginning of the pandemic and has shown unbelievable resilience despite repeated periods of opening and reopening.

“Giving clarity would allow businesses time to plan for reopening and make their premises Covid compliant so that customers can once again enjoy Wales’s excellent hospitality sector with full confidence.”

Drakeford has said the Welsh government would consider reopening indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation by the end of May, in advance of the spring public holiday. On Friday he is due to announce further relaxations to the Covid rules.

Rowland Rees-Evans, the chairman of MWT Cymru, which represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across mid Wales, said: “We are now at the stage where the data has overtaken the dates, so why can’t we reopen faster? If we don’t reopen the industry in line with England, Wales is going to lose out again and people are going to book holidays and short breaks in other parts of the UK.”



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