Changes to allow more families to meet up
As Welsh Government introduces new enforcement powers to make sure all premises follow Covid rules
If conditions remain stable over the next week, people will be able to see more of their family and friends as part of the next review of Wales’ coronavirus restrictions, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today (Fri 14th August).
The intention is that from Saturday 22nd August:
- Up to four households will be able to join together to form a single extended household.
- A meal following a wedding, civil partnership or funeral will be allowed for up to 30 people indoors if social distancing can be maintained.
However, the Welsh Government will not be making any changes to the rules on people meeting indoors with people who aren’t part of their household or extended household. This means that people should only visit pubs, restaurants or other places indoors with people from their household or extended household.
Amendments to the regulations will also come into force next week to make it obligatory for hospitality businesses and other high-risk settings to collect contact details of customers. Collecting this information is essential for Wales’ test trace protect strategy for testing the general public and preventing the spread of coronavirus. Placing this in the regulations will make it clear to managers of premises and to customers that collecting information of this sort is a requirement, not an option.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Wales has come together to tackle the spread of this virus and the action we have taken together has made a real difference. The number of cases continue to fall and this means we will be able introduce new changes to allow up to four households to come together and form an extended household.
“These are cautious, step by step changes. We are learning from what is happening across the UK and outbreaks are mainly linked to people meeting others inside the home. That is why it is so important we don’t invite people outside our extended households into our homes. We have made so much progress and we mustn’t jeopardise this. That means we are not at a point where we should be visiting anyone’s home at any time. Regulations on meeting outdoors were recently changed to make it easier to do, and this remains by far the safest way to meet.
“There are also indications from other parts of the UK where pubs opened earlier than Wales that outbreaks have been linked to those places. If we are to avoid introducing local lockdown measures that could require the whole sector to close, it is vital we can quickly respond to any outbreaks. Providing our contact details when attending these premises will mean people can be contacted quickly by our Test Trace Protect teams if they may have been exposed to coronavirus.
“Only by us all doing our part and taking personal responsibility for our actions can we continue to tackle the scourge of coronavirus.
“For individuals, this means keeping a two metre distance from others, washing our hands often and wearing a facecovering on public transport. For businesses this means taking action to protect customers, including taking their contact details so we can identify any outbreaks. While many businesses are being careful to collect contact details, there are too many reports of this not happening. As a result, we will be bringing in new regulations next week to make this compulsory.
“This pandemic is far from over and we all still have a duty to do our part to keep Wales safe.”
The Welsh Government recently strengthened the powers local authorities have to enforce the regulations. This enables enforcement officers to issue a Premises Improvement Notice to highlight breaches and specify measures that need be taken on premises to comply with the law.
Where a Premises Improvement Notice is not complied with, or if there is a serious breach, premises can be closed by issuing a Premises Closure Notice.
Where notices are issued signs will be displayed in a prominent place to inform people that improvement is needed or that a premises has had to close
Notes to editors
- From 22nd August up to four households can come together as part of a single exclusive extended household. This will not include allowing for the dissolution of existing extended households and the reformation of a new extended household.
- People cannot invite different groups of friends or family into their homes, beyond those in their extended household.
- Welsh law requires measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on these premises. This includes ensuring that people maintain a two metre distance where possible and taking other measures to avoid close interaction; this includes screens, face coverings and improving hygiene.
- Information also has to be provided to customers and staff to help them understand what they need to do in order to stay safe on the premises.