Wales will go into a “fire break” lockdown from 6pm on Friday 23rd October until Monday 9th November.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford announced the decision to lockdown Wales at 12:20pm on Monday 19th October, he described it as a ‘short and sharp” lockdown.
Welsh Government but we do know the following:
- Everyone must remain at home and not to meet friends or family inside or outside of their homes
- All pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will close for the 17 days
- Primary school will open after half term, but only year 7 and year 8 will return to secondary schools return
- Leisure businesses, community centres, libraries and recycling centres will shut. Places of worship will be closed for normal services, except for funerals and weddings.
- Halloween and Bonfire night events should not go ahead, but Rememberance Day gatherings are allowed.
- Exercise will be allowed
The fortnight-long action is needed to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Speaking to the people of Wales, the First Minister said:
This is the moment to come together; to play our part in a common endeavour to protect the NHS and save lives. This will not be easy, but we will do it together.
The fire-break will start at 6pm on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November. It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are in force in some parts of the country.
The Welsh Government will provide a package of almost £300 million to support businesses, which will complement wage-support schemes available from the UK government.
Cases of coronavirus have been rising sharply in Wales as the virus has woken up for winter. While the national and local measures put in place across Wales have helped to keep the spread of the virus in check, there is a growing consensus that additional action is now needed.
Between October 9 and 15, there were 4,127 new confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded by Public Health Wales, based on positive test results but the real level of infections will be much higher. The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms is growing daily and sadly so too are the number of people dying with coronavirus.
The R number is currently between 1.1 and 1.4, meaning continued exponential growth in the number of cases and the seven-day rolling incidence rate for Wales stands at more than 130 cases per 100,000 population.
The fire-break will be short but sharp to have a maximum impact on the virus.
- People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise.
- People must work from home wherever possible;
- People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with either indoors and outdoors
- No gatherings will be allowed outdoors, such as Halloween or fireworks/Bonfire night or other organised activities
- All non-food retail, hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless they provide take-away or delivery services), close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, and events and tourism businesses, such as hotels must close
- Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will be required to close
- Face coverings must be worn in indoor public spaces, which remain open, including on public transport and in taxis.
During this time:
- Adults living alone or single parents will be able to join with one other household for support
- Primary and special schools will re-open as normal after half-term
- Secondary schools will re-open after the half-term for children in years seven and eight and most vulnerable children. Pupils will be able to come in to take exams but other pupils will continue their learning from home for an extra week.
- Universities will provide a blend of in-person and online learning
- NHS and health services will continue to operate
- Local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain open.
Following the end of the fire-break, a new set of national rules will be introduced, covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate.
Businesses affected by the firebreak will be supported with a new £300 million fund, which will open next week:
- Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment.
- Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.
- There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling.
- The £80 million fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100 million, which includes £20 million ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.