Covid rules: Gyms and household mixing changes brought forward in Wales

Restrictions to be eased early because of ‘improvements’ in coronavirus situation, says Drakeford

Rory Sullivan@RorySullivan92
Friday 09 April 2021 20:01
<p>The success of the vaccine rollout in Wales is one of the reasons restrictions can be eased early </p>

The success of the vaccine rollout in Wales is one of the reasons restrictions can be eased early

Household mixing will be allowed and gyms will be opened a week earlier than expected in Wales amid a drop in the number of new coronavirus infections, the Welsh Government has said.

The announcement comes a day after authorities revealed that Covid-19 infections had fallen from 37 to around 21 per 100,000 people.

The hospitalisation rate in the country also continues to plummet, with only 89 hospital beds in use by coronavirus patients, the lowest level since late September.

The move to hasten the easing of lockdown restrictions was also prompted by the successful vaccine rollout, with more than 1.5 million first doses administered in Wales so far.

Mark Drakeford, the country’s first minister, said the “improvements” in the coronavirus situation in Wales had brought forward some steps in the roadmap out of lockdown.

However, the Welsh government has cautioned that the new dates are “subject to the public health situation remaining favourable” and to a further announcement on 22 April. 

As part of the changes, organised outdoor activities and wedding receptions – both limited to 30 people – are likely to be allowed from 26 April rather than 3 May.

Fitness spaces can open and two households can meet indoors from 3 May, once again a week earlier than planned.

Before these measures are introduced, a raft of relaxations will take place on Monday. This includes the reopening of non-essential retail and the return of children to schools.

Travel restrictions will also be lifted, with people allowed to travel in and out of Wales to and from the rest of the UK, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Speaking of the changes, Mr Drakeford said: “Last week, we set out our programme to further reopen the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe.

“This week, 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.”

Additional reporting by PA

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