New whole of Wales restrictions on entertainment and hospitality will be brought in, the First Minister has said as gains from the firebreak lockdown have “eroded”.
He said that the firebreak period had achieved everything they had expected but that Covid-19 had bounced back quicker than anticipated.
Some entertainment venues will close and restrictions on hospitality will be brought in, he said. Cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will close, he confirmed.
Hospitality sector changes will take effect from Friday while precise dates for closures of entertainment venues will be clarified following further discussion. Talks with industry will continue over the weekend and a final announcement will be made on Monday.
There will be “further specific and targeted action” to cut coronavirus spread between now and Christmas but this does not mean a return to the firebreak rules, he said.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms will remain open. Mark Drakeford also said that schools will not close early, despite calls today from teaching unions.
“We have a single-tier in Wales and as we came out of the firebreak period we were convinced by the evidence we had seen that a single-tier was the best way to communicate what we were asking from the people of Wales,” he said.
He said that the rate of infections was going up in 21 of the 22 local authorities. “We need a national system because it is a national effort.”
Welsh Conservative health spokesperson Andrew RT Davies said that new restrictions were an admission from the First Minister that the firebreak had not worked.
“Only two weeks after the end of the firebreak, the First Minister has announced that cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will close in Wales at the end of next week while there will be new restrictions in the hospitality industry,” he said.
“It will be a blanket nationwide approach that absurdly throws in low-medium incidence areas such as Conwy, Ynys Mon, Gwynedd, Denbighshire, Powys and Pembrokeshire in with high-incidence areas in Wales.
“This is sadly an admission from Labour’s First Minister that his firebreak lockdown did not work, which we did predict. Regrettably, he is now doubling-down. There are huge differences in incidence rates across Wales and a blanket nationwide approach is unnecessary and unfair.”