Ahead of England’s ‘Freedom Day’ people are being urged to respect restriction differences in Wales
Councils chiefs on either side of the border are urging people to respect the differences in Wales when England ends most of the legal Covid-19 restrictions on Monday.
Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap will reach step four on Monday – ‘Freedom Day’ as it has been dubbed – it means most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England will be lifted despite steeply rising infection rates.
On Saturday Public Health England reported 48,161 new Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported across the UK.
The prime minister – who is now self-isolating following Sajid Javid’s positive Covid-19 test – said last week, “we know we’re going to see more hospitalisations and more deaths from Covid.”
“But we also know that this wave was clearly foreseen by our scientists when we first set out that roadmap in February.”
“We also know that if we were now to delay this 4th step – for instance to September or later – then we would be re-opening as the weather gets colder and as the virus acquires a greater natural advantage and when schools are back.”
“But it is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution. And I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough. This pandemic is not over. This disease coronavirus continues to carry risks for you and for your family.”
From Monday in England, all mandatory restrictions including social distancing and mask-wearing will be removed, though many of the major retailers in England will be encouraging people to keep wearing face coverings.
Wales moved to alert level one on Saturday but most of the current restrictions in place won’t be lifted until 7th August when the country moves to alert level zero “if safe to do so.”
Even then, face masks will remain a legal requirement indoors in public places, such as on public transport, in shops and when accessing healthcare.
Key differences from Monday centre around the use of face coverings, and the number of people able to meet indoors.
In Wales – face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public places at alert level one, when Wales moves to alert level zero, face coverings will remain a legal requirement in certain settings.
From Saturday, July 17, up to six people will be able to meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.
There will be no change in the rules around face coverings.
Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing, and ice rinks will be able to reopen.
Nightclubs in Wales will remain closed.
In England, from 19 July there will be no limit on the number of people who can meet indoors, and face coverings are ‘recommended’ to be worn (not a legal requirment) in crowded indoor areas and on public transport.
There will also be no limits on the number of people who can meet, and most legal restrictions are lifted.
Flintshire and Cheshire West and Chester councils are advising residents of the different restrictions affecting both sides of the England and Wales border from Monday.
In a joint statement, Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:
“The changes in restrictions follow the success of the vaccination programme, which has weakened the link between infections, serious illness and hospitalisation in both Wales and England.
“However, the Delta variant continues to spread and the virus still poses a serious risk to health. Infection rates are still very high in Cheshire West and Chester and we are seeing more people requiring treatment for Covid-19 in our local hospitals.”
“We’re also seeing young, fit people suffering from long-Covid, which is having a major impact on their lives.”
“Everyone living, working in and visiting Wales is asked to respect the difference in restrictions between England and Wales, and to stick to the regulations in place.”
“Those living, working in and visiting Cheshire West and Chester are also advised to continue to exercise caution in the borough and to get their two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”
“People should continue with their use of face coverings in enclosed spaces, particularly on public transport.”
Visitors to Wales are asked to respect staff working in tourism, hospitality and leisure industries, who are “all continuing to do their utmost to look after the health and welfare of those they work for and with.”
People travelling into Wales from England on public transport will be required to wear a mask when they cross the border, Mark Drakeford has said.
The Welsh government confirmed that face coverings will continue to be required on public transport, in taxis, health and social care settings and most indoor public places, as a minimum “while coronavirus remains a public health threat”.
Wales – Restrictions from 17 July: frequently asked questions
England – Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread from 19 July
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com