“Today is a good day in Wales” as Mark Drakeford confirms most remaining Covid rules will be scrapped from Saturday
“Today is a good day here in Wales, a day for optimism” First Minister Mark Drakeford has said this morning after confirming that the country will move to alert level 0.
From this weekend there’ll be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet either in private homes in public places or at events.
Businesses such as nightclubs that have had to remain closed throughout the pandemic will be able to reopen.
Face coverings will not be a legal requirement in hospitality settings where food and drink is served, but they will continue to be required in most indoor public places and public transport.
Also, people who are doubly vaccinated will no longer be required to self isolate, if they come into contact with somebody who has tested positive for Coronavirus.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that “because of the success of our vaccination program, over 90% of people in Wales have had the first vaccine, and over, 82% of adults in Wales have had a second vaccine as well.”
“That means we are confident that we can lift the requirement to self isolate without doing damage, and by doing so we will help those businesses and those individuals whose, whose lives have been disrupted by the scale of self-isolation.”
The first minister has said moving to alert level zero “does not mean the end of restrictions and a free-for-all.”
Earlier today the First Minister was doing the rounds of morning broadcasters, on Sky News he told Kay Burley “It has been a long journey, certainly in Wales we’ve been gradually cautiously easing restrictions since February. And this is a major further step on that journey back to something like the lives we used to lead before the pandemic hits us all.”
“In Wales our experience has been that people wanted to go on making their contribution to keeping themselves and other people safe. So, as well as celebrating the fact that we’re able to ease restrictions, again this weekend. We are once again appealing to people in Wales to go on playing their part. Washing hands frequently wearing masks in crowded public places, getting vaccinated – the single most important contribution that people can make – and provided we all do that, then we are confident that we can have these easements, without seeing the virus coming flooding back at us”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said Saturday is not ‘Freedom Day’ in Wales – a term coined by some media outlets and used in England when restrictions were lifted there.
He said: “We don’t use that language here in Wales because it’s not all over.”
“Hundreds of people every day are still falling ill from Coronavirus in this third wave.”
“And while vaccination has fundamentally altered the relationship between falling ill and hospitalisation, it hasn’t eliminated it.”
“So while today’s a good day here in Wales, a day for optimism in Wales, it’s also a day in which we ask Welsh people to go on making those contributions which each one of us can make to keeping each other safe from this awful virus.”
At alert level zero, all restrictions on meeting with others will be removed and all businesses will be able to open.
But some important protections will continue to be in place to give everyone the confidence to enjoy the summer ahead.
- Everyone must continue to isolate for 10 days if they have Covid-19 symptoms or if they have a positive test result.
- Face coverings will continue to be required in most indoor public places in Wales, including on public transport, in shops and in healthcare settings. There will be exemptions for people who cannot wear them, as there are currently.
- All those responsible for premises open to the public and workplaces must carry out a Covid risk assessment and continue to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
Mark Drakeford said: “Alert level zero does not mean the end of restrictions and a free-for-all. But it does mean we can all enjoy more freedoms with the confidence there are still important protections in place to make sure our public health is being safeguarded while we are out and about.”
“Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over yet and we all need to work together to do everything we can to keep this virus under control – at alert level zero, everything we do will have an impact on this virus.”
“Even if you have been fully vaccinated, meeting outside is safer than inside; let fresh air into indoor spaces, get tested even for mild symptoms, and self-isolate when you are required to do so.”
“Continue to keep our distance when we are out and work from home whenever we can. Wear a face mask, especially in crowded places, on public transport, in shops and in health and social care settings.”
“Taking responsibility and working together means we can all do the things we’ve missed the most. We’ve all got a reason to keep Wales safe.”
Wales will move to alert level zero at 6am on 7 August.
Also on 7 August (from 00.01), adults who are fully vaccinated and children and young people under 18, will no longer need to isolate if they are identified as close contacts of someone who has coronavirus. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com