Wales moves to alert level zero, but Drakeford warns it isn’t a ‘free for all’
Wales is moving to alert level zero, but the First Minister has warned that it isn’t a “free for all”.
Mark Drakeford has urged everyone to continue to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 as he confirmed that an easing of restrictions will take place on Saturday August 7.
At alert level zero, all restrictions on meeting with others will be removed and all businesses will be able to open.
But some restrictions will continue to be in place, and the Welsh Government says this is to give everyone the confidence to enjoy the summer ahead. This includes wearing face coverings in most indoor settings, including on public transport.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Moving to alert level zero is another significant step forward for us all. For the first time since the pandemic started, all businesses will be able to open and all legal limits on meeting people in indoor private spaces will be removed.
“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.”
‘People who can meet’
At alert level zero:
- There will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events.
- Businesses which were required to be closed will be able to re-open. This includes nightclubs.
- Premises which are open to the public and workplaces will have more flexibility about which reasonable measures they take to minimise the risk of coronavirus. But these should be tailored to their risk assessment and their specific circumstances.
- Face coverings will not be a legal requirement in hospitality settings where food and drink is served, but will continue to be required in most indoor public places.
- 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.
The restrictions that will stay in place include:
- 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.
Commenting on the announcement that Wales is moving to Level zero, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies MS said: “After a long 18 months, I’m relieved that we move to Level zero in Wales as it’s time for us all to enjoy the full fruits of our vaccination campaign, whilst of course remaining vigilant.
“People are ready to meet loved ones as they once did and businesses need to get on the road to recovery, and it’s now vital the Labour Government spends the £1bn Covid-19 funding in its coffers to support Welsh jobs.
“As we approach the very end of restrictions, we must look not only towards the strongest bounce back possible but giving justice to those who have suffered from the virus and lockdown.
“This is why there must be a Wales-wide inquiry into the Labour Government’s handling of the pandemic – an inquiry the First Minister is still inexplicably avoiding.”