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Lockdown restrictions to be relaxed early in Wales

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Welsh government is accelerating elements of its programme to relax coronavirus restrictions as cases of new infections continue to fall across the country.

People will be able to form an extended household, visit the gym or take part in organised outdoor activities a week earlier than planned.

First minister Mark Drakeford set out a detailed timetable for moving Wales into alert level three last week. But some of these measures will now be introduced sooner than planned as cases have fallen markedly from 37 cases per 100,000 people to fewer than 21 per 100,000 this week.

The pressure on hospitals also continues to ease. Confirmed cases in hospital beds continue to reduce, and now stands at 89. This is 26% lower than last Thursday and is the lowest position since 22 September 2020.

What can you do in Wales, and when?

From Monday 12 April, children and university students will return to education. All remaining shops will reopen, completing the phased reopening of non-essential retail. All remaining close contact services will open, including mobile services.

Travel restrictions on traveling into and out of Wales will be lifted. However, restrictions on travel to countries outside the Common Travel Area (the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland) without a reasonable excuse, remain in place.

On Monday 26 April outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen. Outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can also take place – this was previously scheduled for 3 May. Weddings receptions can also take place outdoors for up to 30 people – also bought forward from 3 May.

On Monday 3 May, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen – this was previously due to happen on 10 May. Also, on 3 May, two households can meet and have contact indoors.

Mark Drakeford, Wales’ first minister, said: “The public health situation in Wales continues to improve thanks to everything you are doing to help us control this awful virus. Cases of the virus are falling and our incredible vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

“Last week, we set out our programme to further re-open the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe. This week, because of the improvements we continue to see, we can bring forward some of our plans. This is only possible because of the efforts everyone is making to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

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