Wales to return to toughest Covid-19 lockdown rules with virus ‘firebreak’
From Friday 6 pm, Wales will impose a “firebreak” lockdown for 17 days the Welsh government has announced.
The new coronavirus lockdown will take Wales back to the March restrictions, with most businesses shutting and people being told to stay at home and work from home if they can.
The measures starting on Friday at 6 pm include:
- Non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality businesses to close
- People told to work from home wherever possible, with exceptions for critical workers
- Household mixing banned both indoors and outdoors, although those in social bubbles will still be able to meet
- Primary schools open after the half-term week and secondary schools will open only to Year 7 and Year 8 pupils
- Places of worship to be closed except for weddings and funerals
The circuit break decision, announced Monday, will last until Monday 9 November.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the introduction of a new lockdown would deliver a “short, sharp shock.”
“It will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need,” he told reporters in Cardiff.
“Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home. All non-essential businesses will have to close.”
Mr Drakeford said without the new measures, the NHS will not be able to cope and “even more people will die.”
“There are no easy choices in front of us as the virus spreads rapidly in every part of Wales,” he said.
He also announced a £300m economic resilience fund to help businesses through the shutdown.
Every business covered by the small business rate relief will receive a £1,000 payment.
Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that will be forced to shut their doors will be given a one-off payment of up to £5,000.
Household mixing will be banned both indoors and outdoors, although those in social bubbles will still be able to meet.
Primary schools will open after the half-term week and secondary schools will open only to Year 7 and Year 8 pupils, while university students will have to remain in their university accommodation
All non-essential businesses will have to close and places of worship will be closed except for weddings and funerals.
Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will also close.
“There will be no gatherings with people you do not live with either indoors or outdoors during this two-week period,” Mr Drakeford said.
“There will continue to be an exception for adults living alone and single parents will continue to be able to join with one household for support.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has already ordered schools to close for the next two weeks as well as banning most social gatherings and shutting many businesses for a month.
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