Photo by Richard Johnson (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Welsh Government have announced today that Wales is set to enter stricter lockdown restrictions from 6pm on Friday, October 23rd. The new rules will continue to be in place for two weeks – until Monday November 9th.
The lockdown, noted as a ‘firebreak’ or ‘circuit breaker’, will see a return to restrictions put into action earlier this year. Under the upcoming rules, all pubs, restaurants, and non-essential shops will have to close.
What are the new rules coming in on Friday 23rd?
- People will have to stay at home except for reasons such as exercise and essential shopping.
- People cannot visit other households or people they do not live with. This applies to indoor and outdoor meetings.
- All non-food retail will have to close, with cafes, restaurants, and pubs closing, save those that provide delivery/takeaway services.
Despite this, universities can continue providing a combination of in-person and online learning. Students who have reading weeks or half-term will also have to remain where they are during the 17-day lockdown.
According to First Minister Mark Drakeford, the firebreak will be a “short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time”.
“We all want to see an end to this pandemic and our lives returned to us. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a vaccine, which will allow us to do that”.
“So this is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much longer – and damaging – national lockdown.”
The news comes as case numbers in Wales have risen significantly over the past month. Bangor’s hyper-local lockdown, and rising concerns for Aberystwyth, are but two locations out of 17 counties placed under local lockdown since September.
To support the impact COVID-19 is having on businesses in Wales, the Welsh Government will open a new £300m fund next week. The fund will offer small and medium-sized retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses a one-off payment of £5,000.
A protest has been organised in Bangor on Thursday to demonstrate the need for local business support in the wake of COVID-19. Run by Jules Lee of Jules Tattoos in Bangor, the two-hour protest will see several local businesses serving their customers on the street, including Ms Lee tattooing a member of staff outside her shop.
Along with the new restrictions, Halloween and Bonfire Night gatherings will not be allowed after Wales is put into lockdown at 6pm on Friday. Small Remembrance Day commemoration services on November 8th are allowed.