Wales to allow two households to meet indoors earlier than planned | Wales

Two households will be able to meet indoors a week earlier than previously planned, as the Welsh government brings forward the easing of some coronavirus restrictions.

The reopening of gyms, leisure centres, and outdoor organised activities will also be brought forward amid a drop in new Covid-19 infections.

Wales’ first minister Mark Drakeford said the “improvements” in the public health situation and the vaccination programme meant changes could be made to previously announced plans.

The Welsh government said on Thursday that coronavirus cases in Wales had dropped from 37 to fewer than 21 per 100,000 this week, while the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital beds was 89 – the lowest figure since 22 September.

Under the changes to the timetable organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to tale place from 26 April instead of 3 May.

Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be permitted outdoors from 26 April – again a week earlier than previously announced.

The reopening of gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will now be allowed from 3 May, brought forward a week from 10 May. This will include for individual or one-to-one training, but not exercise classes.

An extended household rule will allow two households to meet and have contact indoors from 3 May, rather than 10 May.

All dates are “subject to the public health situation remaining favourable” and will be confirmed at a review of coronavirus regulations on 22 April, the Welsh government said.

Drakeford 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.

“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.”

Other relaxations of restrictions are still set to go ahead from Monday.

This includes the return of children to schools, all post-16 learners back at further education and training centres and university campuses reopening for blended face-to-face and online learning.

All remaining non-essential retail and close contact services will reopen.

Restrictions on travel in and out of Wales are also to be lifted, but people will not be able to journey to countries outside the common travel area – the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland – without a reasonable excuse.

Restrictions on political canvassing will be removed, so long as it is done safely, and wedding “show-arounds” by appointment will be allowed.

From 26 April outdoor attractions, such as funfairs and theme parks, could be allowed to reopen – the date for which has not been changed.

Outdoor hospitality, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants, is also set to resume from the same unchanged date.

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