The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2020 place a series of restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people, and the operation of businesses, including closures. They also require businesses that are open to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. They are designed to protect people from the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Welsh Ministers are required to review the need for the requirements and restrictions in the regulations, and their proportionality, every 21 days. The next 21-day review of the regulations will take place by 30 July.
At the last review of the regulations, on 10 July, we decided to take a phased approach to lifting restrictions in Wales in relation to leisure, tourism and hospitality businesses over this three-week period, provided the spread of coronavirus remained under control in Wales, which is the case.
We are therefore bringing forward amendments to the regulations to remove restrictions on all accommodation with shared facilities from tomorrow (25 July). This will enable campsites to re-open, and hostels and other types of accommodation to let rooms that are not ensuite, to people from the same household or extended household.
We will remove the restriction on underground attractions – this means that all visitor attractions in Wales will be able to open from tomorrow provided they have the necessary measures in place to protect staff and visitors from coronavirus.
From Monday, (27 July) we will remove the current restrictions on indoor cinemas, museums, archives and galleries. This will enable these places to reopen but does not require it. The timings for reopening will vary from place to place, given the diversity of the sector.
Amusement arcades, which includes adult gaming centres and family entertainment centres, will also be able to reopen from Monday (27 July).
We will lift the restrictions to enable close contact services to re-open. These include nail salons, massage parlours, businesses offering beauty and other wellbeing treatments and tattoos. At this stage, however, they should not provide any facial treatments because of the increased risk of transmission face-to-face contact involves. We will continue to work with these sectors to keep this under review.
We are bringing forward amendments to allow viewings to take place in unoccupied properties. This will allow for the full re-opening of the housing market.
Amendments will be made to provide clarity to ensure supervised recreation for children and young people under 18 is permitted.
The Welsh Government’s policy remains clear that people should continue to work from home wherever they can. The increase in remote and flexible working has been one of the few positives we can take away from the coronavirus pandemic and for public health and other reasons I am keen that this continues – and the Welsh Government will lead by example. However, in order to provide the flexibility needed to sustain this policy we will lift the legal requirement to work from home from the regulations. Guidance will be provided to ensure that home working remains a cornerstone of our approach to recovery in Wales. Employers will also have responsibilities to support home working.
Finally, we will amend the regulations to make the wearing of a face covering compulsory on public transport, including taxis, from Monday (27 July).
We are able to lift restrictions in part because businesses and other organisations are making changes and adaptations to their premises and their ways of working to help people stay 2m apart from each other and to minimise the risk of the transmission of coronavirus.
Coronavirus has not gone away. These measures are being put in place to protect us all and prevent the spread of infection. We are reviewing the enforcement powers that local authorities and others have, but my intention is that we will take action and close any business or premises that poses a threat to public health.
As more of our society and economy opens up we all need to do our part to prevent a resurgence of the virus by maintaining social distancing; by washing our hands often and by complying with the new ways of working and doing business.
I want to thank the very many businesses and organisations who have worked with the Welsh Government to develop the guidance, which has supported many tens of thousands of small and large firms to open their doors to customers and visitors once again.
I also want to thank everyone in Wales whose ongoing efforts have helped us reach this point. Together we can keep Wales safe.