Coronavirus: Wales says two households can form bubble when lockdown ends next week

·3-min read

Two households will be able to combine and form a bubble or extended household in Wales once the nation's firebreak lockdown ends on 9 November.

First Minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement as he set out the new national rules that will apply once the 17-day shutdown ends.

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Some of the measures are still in the process of being finalised in the wake of the announcement of England's four-week lockdown, which begins on Thursday.

Mr Drakeford set out the new rules at a news conference on Monday:

  • All businesses and premises closed during the lockdown will be able to reopen - restaurants, cafes, pubs and gyms. In light of the England lockdown announcement, ministers are in talks with the hospitality sector about the detailed rules for reopening, including meeting in public indoor spaces;

  • Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoor activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, provided social distancing is observed and other COVID-19 safety measures, like hand washing, are adhered to

  • All schools will reopen, churches and places of worship can resume services, council services will restart and community centres will open again for small groups to meet safely indoors;

  • People should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within the country for Welsh residents, but international travel should only be undertaken if it is essential;

  • People will still be advised to work from home whenever possible;

  • Social distancing and the wearing of face masks in enclosed public spaces, including on public transport and taxis, will continue.

Mr Drakeford said people should only meet with their "bubble" in their own home.

If one person from either household develops COVID-19 symptoms, everyone should then self-isolate.

"Only people from your own household, or that extended household, will be able to meet in your own home," the first minister said.

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Mr Drakeford said he recognised that this would not reflect the "family dynamics" of many people, or allow friends and young people to meet up.

He told the news conference there would be "new arrangements" to meet indoors in other places, such as pubs, bars and restaurants, after 9 November.

"But because all these places will now be closed in England, we are having to think further about how the hospitality sector in Wales can operate in these new circumstances, and that consideration will continue into this afternoon," Mr Drakeford said.

The first minister said people in Wales "need to carry on looking after each other and keeping ourselves safe" to safeguard effects of the hard work and sacrifices people have made this year in tackling the virus.

"This is a virus which thrives on human contact," he continued.

"Social contact is important to all of us but to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we need to think carefully about all our meetings and contacts with other people and try and reduce them to reduce our risk of infection.

"Rather than us asking what we can or can't do, we need to ask ourselves what should we be doing to keep our families safe.

"Government rules and regulations are here to help. But the real strength we have is in the choices we make and the actions we take together."