Posted: Mon 15th Jun 2020

First Minister: Wales is not falling behind England when it comes to easing lockdown measures

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 15th, 2020

Thousands of shops across the border in England have re-opened their doors today for the first time in almost three months.

Non-essential shops closed across the UK when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

High street shops including clothes, shoe and electronics retailers, have been allowed to open their doors on the condition they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

During today’s Welsh government press conference first minister Mark Drakeford indicated three areas he and ministers will look at during fourth lockdown review this week, the re-opening of shops, the relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities and plans to re-open schools at the end on June.

Asked what he was doing to ensure Wales’ economy doesn’t ‘fall’ further behind that of England, Mr Drakeford said:

“First of all the premise of the question isn’t a sensible one, we are not falling further behind so important is to get our facts right rather than our assertions.  

We will review at the end of this week whether it is possible to reopen the non essential retail.

I’m very grateful to all those people in the sector, who have worked with us over these three weeks, making sure that we are able to provide advice to the sector so that it can prepare for that moment.

The sector in Wales will be well prepared if we are in a position to give the go ahead on Friday.

From everything that has been done in creating new arrangements, safe ways in which people can enter and leave stores, social distancing inside and protection for people who work in them.

We are keen, of course, to see the economy reopen here in Wales, but to do so in a way that puts a public health lens first, because that is the best way for our economy as well.

A stop start reopening of the economy in which we have to clamp down on things again because coronavirus is out of control, nothing could be worse for the economy.

That is why we are doing things in that careful sequenced way that we are doing things in Wales.”

The First Minister will announce on Friday the outcome of the fourth lockdown review as he is required to do every 21 days under emergency regulations implemented in March.

Mr Drakeford went on to thank smaller businesses in Wales which have been preparing to open over the past few weeks. He said:

“I want to thank them for everything they have done over the last two weeks to prepare for the possibility of re-opening.

That means we are very big step ahead and that if we are in a position on Friday to press the button, they will be ready to go as soon as the regulations can be amended in Wales.

I’m hugely appreciative of everything that I know those small shop owners have done to make their places safe that staff safe for the customers we hope that we’ll be returning in Wales next week.

And as we go through this week, that’s what we are hoping to be able to offer by Friday.

There are a few days to go, there’s more information to be had, there is the view the chief medical officer to be secured.

We are in a better place than we were at previous points in this cycle and I hope that our colleagues there in the non essential retail sector will take some hope from that.”

 

 

 

 

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