First minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that Wales is set to move to alert level zero on Saturday, allowing all businesses to reopen and all legal limits on meeting people in indoor private spaces to be removed.
However, Mr Drakeford stressed that the change should not lead to a “free-for-all” as baseline measures will remain to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
Face masks will continue to be required in most indoor public places, including on public transport, in shops and in healthcare settings, but will no longer be a legal requirement in hospitality settings where food and drink is served.
Adults who are fully vaccinated and young people under 18 will also no longer need to isolate if they are alerted as a close contact of someone who has Covid-19.
However, people must continue to isolate for 10 days if they have symptoms of the virus or if they have a positive test result.
“Alert level zero does not mean the end of restrictions and a free-for-all,” Mr Drakeford said as he confirmed the move to level zero for 6am on Saturday.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Some pandemic restrictions were previously eased on 17 July when the country moved to alert level one, after a four-week delay due to concerns about the spread of the Delta variant.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said that he was “relieved” by the decision to move to level zero restrictions as he urged the devolved government to use Covid funding to support jobs in the country.
“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,” Mr Davies said.
“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.”
Additional reporting by PA
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