Posted: Tue 20th Oct 2020

First minister says ‘fire break’ lockdown will not be extended past November 9th

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 20th, 2020

A short, sharp “fire-break” will be introduced across Wales at the end of this week to help regain control of coronavirus, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Monday.

The fortnight-long action is needed to “save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.” He said.

The fire-break will start at 6pm on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November.

It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are currently in force in Flintshire.

Mark Drakeford said the 17-day national lockdown will not be extended beyond November 9 but has not ruled out introducing further “short, sharp” measures to tackle coronavirus over the coming months.

From 6pm Friday people have been told they must stay at home, though there are limited exceptions (see FAQ’s for details)

People have been told they must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with

Certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops must close during the 17 day period.

Secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years seven and eight.

Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open.

The Welsh government has said that if you break these new laws “You may be told to go home or removed from where you are and returned home.”

You could have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £60, this will rise to £120 for the second breach or you could have criminal proceedings brought against you, and if found guilty, you will have to pay a fine.

Following the end of the fire break period, the Welsh government has said a new set of national rules will be introduced, “covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate.”

First Minister said the two-week fire break will not be extended beyond Noverment 9th but warned that any benefits of the 17-day lockdown will not be seen until later down the line.

“The period will end on the 9th November, it is a fixed period, and will end on that Monday.”

“Can I make one other point to the avoidance of doubt, we will not see the benefit of these two weeks by the 9th of November, the benefit will be seen in the weeks that follow.”

“I’ve heard some people say that the figures [infection rates] won’t come down by the 9th of November so the period will have to continue, that is not the test we set.”

“We know now that we will not see the benefit within the two weeks of the fire break period.”

“So the period will end 9th November, and we will see the impact it will have beyond the fire break period itself.”

During Monday’s press conference Mark Drakeford was asked if he could guarantee that similar fire-break measures won’t be introduced again in the coming months, the First Minister said he could not rule anything out.

He said: “I’m not in the business of giving guarantees that nobody could possibly be sure they could keep.

“Nor can I rule out further measures into next year if the virus were to come back and be spreading at the velocity that it is spreading today.”

“The aim of the fire-break period, is to get us through to Christmas without the need for restrictions of this sort.”

“There will be regime the other side of it, as I’ve said, but the aim of a firebreak is to reset the clock and to allow us to get through to Christmas together.”

“Beyond that it simply wouldn’t be sensible given the speed at which things change, the nature of the virus we face, to be offering people guarantees of how the future may unfold.”

Full details on the rules which will apply during the Coronavirus firebreak can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions

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