Alert Level 4: Non-essential retail, gyms, hair salons and all hospitality premises to close in Wales
Higher-level restrictions will come into force to control rapidly accelerating coronavirus rates across Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said today (16 December).
The First Minister today confirmed the current conditions mean Wales has met the criteria in the new traffic-light Coronavirus Control Plan to move to alert level four.
Families have been told to limit Christmas gatherings to two households in Wales as First Minister Mark Drakeford brings in tougher restrictions
The new restrictions will apply to all of Wales.
- All non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres will close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.
- All hospitality premises will close from 6pm on Christmas Day.
- Tighter restrictions on household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply from December 28, after the five-day Christmas period.
The First Minister urged everyone who can to work from home, saying it is one of the most important contributions we can all make to controlling the spread of coronavirus and saving lives.
Mark Drakeford said: “We are seeing levels of coronavirus in some parts of the country that we haven’t experienced at any point before in this pandemic. This pandemic is putting our NHS under intense and sustained strain.
“There are more than 2,100 people with coronavirus symptoms in our hospitals – equivalent to five general hospitals fully occupied by people with coronavirus.
“This has been such a long and difficult year. We need to take this action to save lives and control the spread of this awful virus.”
The four UK governments met today to confirm the common arrangements for the five-day Christmas period. Joint advice will be published later today.
In Wales, the position will be that only two households should come together to form an exclusive Christmas bubble during that period.
The First Minister added:
“A smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas and a shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas.
“The fewer people we mix with in our homes, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.
“None of us wants to be ill this Christmas. And we don’t want to give coronavirus to our close family or friends.”
The alert level four restrictions for household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will come into force after the five-day Christmas period on December 28.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senedd, Paul Davies MS has said: “It’s deeply regrettable that Wales is at the point where further nationwide restrictions will be implemented to combat the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases across the country.”
“However the figures speak for themselves .. the R rate is now above 1.4 in Wales and confirmed case rate has exceeded the threshold for alert level 4 in the coronavirus control plan then I can very much understand the basis of the Welsh government’s decision.”
Responding to the latest Welsh Government update on Coronavirus, Darren Hughes, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said:
“As the number of people catching Coronavirus in Wales continues to rise, the pressure on our services inevitably rises.”
“We have already seen two health boards take steps to postpone some non-urgent services and if the pressure in other parts of Wales continues to rise a similar decision may have to be made in those areas as well.”
“The additional measures announced today are welcome in order to prevent more services having to be temporarily paused while we deal with a surge in Coronavirus patients.”
“The NHS in Wales have done everything we can to try and increase our capacity, not just to treat those in the most need with Coronavirus but other significant health issues too.”
“But, if community infections rise and more people present in our hospitals with Coronavirus, we have to make difficult decisions on the other services we would be able to safely deliver.”
“It has never been the case that if you need urgent care that you would not receive it. We will continue to do everything we can for as many people as possible in Wales.”
“What we need over the festive period is for people to be responsible. Please limit your social contacts as much as possible in the run-up to Christmas.”
“Make sure you and your family have as much reassurance as possible that you can celebrate safely.”
“By doing so, you will not just help the NHS and the dedicated staff who have been tackling the pandemic for 10 months, but you will help your loved ones too.”