All legal restrictions on social distancing will be lifted in Wales from Saturday, but face masks will still be required in most indoor public spaces.
From 6 a.m. on Saturday, level 0 guidance will apply, meaning current rules on the number of people who can meet indoor will be scrapped, the rule requiring pubs to limit to table services will be lifted, and nightclubs and adult entertainment venues will be allowed to open again.
Currently, people in Wales can only meet with their “extended households”—two other households that remain the same—at home, or up to five other people in “indoor regulated settings” such as cafes, restaurants, and pubs.
With social distancing rules—first imposed since March 2020—finally removed, people are allowed to hug friends and family members for the first time after months.
While CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions on individuals are lifted, businesses, employers, and other organisations are told they “must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to, and the spread of, coronavirus.” This could mean some businesses will keep social distancing rules in place.
Unlike England, Wales will keep the mask mandate for over-12s in most indoor public places, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, or nightclubs, where food and drinks are consumed.
Those who test positive for the CCP virus and unvaccinated adults who are close contacts to someone tested positive will still have to self-isolate for 10 days, but fully vaccinated and under-age contacts will be exempt from self-isolation unless they test positive themselves.
Although England has removed its restrictions on July 19, the self-isolation exemption for fully vaccinated and under-age contacts won’t take effect until Aug. 16.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford warned that level 0 isn’t a “free-for-all.”
“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,” Drakeford said.
“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,” he added.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said that it’s time to “enjoy the full fruits of our vaccination campaign” and start an inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic.