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Wales to allow gyms and leisure centres to reopen in May
31 March 2021, 21:59
Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities in Wales can reopen from May 10, The Welsh Government has said.
A fresh set of dates for the easing of coronavirus restrictions also includes allowing organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions, both limited to 30 people, from May 3.
The Welsh Government said the changes, subject to Wales' public health situation, were part of its "step-by-step" approach of relaxing rules and took account of the now-dominant and highly-infectious Kent strain of Covid-19.
It said the number of cases of the virus in Wales was "generally falling" and that pressure on the NHS was continuing to ease.
The Government's announcement on Wednesday evening came after it said outdoor hospitality in Wales, including cafes, pubs and restaurants, could reopen from Monday April 26.
The easing of hospitality restrictions will be confirmed alongside the reopening of outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, at the April 22 review of restrictions.
Speaking ahead of a Welsh Government press briefing on Thursday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said stable rates of Covid cases and the success of the vaccination programme meant ministers had headroom to consider more relaxations.
He said: "The review we have concluded this week, means we can continue with our programme of further re-opening of the economy and loosening the restrictions in place."
Mr Drakeford added: "With the weather improving, with more opportunities to see family and friends, there are reasons for optimism.
"However, we can't let our guard down yet.
"We all still need to be vigilant, we still need to do our part to keep this deadly disease at bay."
Mr Drakeford will confirm at Thursday's press conference the reopening of all close contact services and shops from April 12, completing the phased reopening of non-essential retail.
The last domestic travel restrictions will also be lifted to allow people to move between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom and Common Travel Area.
All school pupils and post-16 learners can return to face-to-face teaching, and university campuses can reopen for blended face-to-face and online learning for all students from the same date.
Viewings at wedding venues can also resume by appointment, outdoor canvassing for elections can begin, and planning for a small number of outdoor pilot events of between 200 and 1,000 people will begin.
The pilots will be chosen for cultural and sports events across Wales, including a potential stadium event.
The Welsh Government said it working with the Muslim Council to try to incorporate the trials to help people celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan.
From Monday May 3, organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions for up to 30 people can take place.
A week later, on May 10, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen for individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes.
Rules will also allow two households to meet and have contact indoors.
The Government also said it would make preparations so whichever party leads the country after the May 6 Welsh Parliament election could consider allowing children's indoor activities, community centres, and organised indoor activities for adults for up to 15 people to resume from Monday May 17.
After May 17, considerations could be made to enable indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen in advance of the Spring Bank Holiday.
The Welsh Government said all the changes would see Wales move fully into Alert Level 3 by May 17, "subject to public health conditions remaining favourable".