It is intended the concept will be introduced in Wales from July 6 – the same day Ministers want to lift the stay local requirement – if cases of coronavirus continue to decline across the country.
Creating a single extended household will enable families to be reunited and will also help support working parents with informal childcare over the summer months as more businesses reopen their doors and return to formalised working arrangements.
But to help control the spread of coronavirus, only one exclusive extended household can be formed. Once a household decides which other household it wants to join with, this arrangement will be fixed for the foreseeable future.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Thanks to the efforts everyone has made over the last few months, we have seen the number of new cases of coronavirus decline – but it has not gone away.
“I know people are missing seeing their families. We have some headroom to make a further change to the rules next week and we will introduce this new concept, which will enable people living in two separate households to form one extended household – they may be part of the same family or they may be close friends.
“This new arrangement will mean people can form one extended household and can meet indoors.”
The Welsh Government has drawn on experience from around the world where this concept has been successfully introduced, including in New Zealand. Extended households are in place in Scotland and care and support bubbles are in place in England and Northern Ireland.
Under the new arrangements, which could come into force on 6 July, if cases of coronavirus continue to decline:
- People will only be able to be part of one extended household.
- Everyone joining the extended household must belong to the two households, which form the extended household.
- The extended household must contain the same individuals for the foreseeable future.
- If one member of an extended household develops symptoms of coronavirus, the entire extended household will need to self-isolate, not just those living together.
- It will be important for the extended household to keep records to help with contact tracing in case someone in the extended households tests positive for coronavirus.
The First Minister added:
“We are continuing to learn about coronavirus – the evidence we have about the virus tells us that meeting people outdoors, maintaining social distancing and good hand hygiene remains is the best and lowest risk option.
“Together we have made significant progress over the last few months in slowing the spread of this virus. Together we can continue to keep Wales safe.”