Gyms and household mixing to return earlier in Wales as lockdown easing sped up

8 April 2021, 22:00 | Updated: 9 April 2021, 14:35

Some lockdown measures in Wales will be eased earlier than originally planned
Some lockdown measures in Wales will be eased earlier than originally planned. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Wales has announced it is speeding up its relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions as cases continue to fall across the nation.

Some easing measures set out by First Minister Mark Drakeford last week will be brought forward as cases fell to fewer than 21 cases per 100,000 this week.

It also comes after figures revealed that the number of weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales has fallen by 92% from the second wave peak roughly two months ago.

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Organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will now be allowed from Monday, April 26, a week earlier than planned.

On Monday, May 3, also a week earlier than planned, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be able to reopen for individual or one-to-one training.

From that date two households will also be able to meet and have contact indoors.

Mr Drakeford said: "Cases of the virus are falling and our incredible vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

"Last week, we set out our programme to further re-open the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe.

"This week, because of the improvements we continue to see, we can bring forward some of our plans."

Subject to review, the key dates out of lockdown for Wales are:

Monday, April 12:

  • Full return of children to schools, further education and training centres, university campuses able to open
  • All remaining shops can reopen
  • All remaining close contact services can open, including mobile services 
  • Travel restrictions on traveling into and out of Wales lifted. However, restrictions on travel to countries outside the Common Travel Area without a reasonable excuse remain in place.

Monday, April 26: 

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, able to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants. Indoor hospitality closed except for takeaways
  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can again take place
  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people

On Monday 3 May:

  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen for individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes
  • Two households able to meet and have contact indoors

By contrast, step two of England's roadmap out of lockdown begins next week, with non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms reopening and pubs and restaurants able to open outdoors.

On May 17, six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, people can meet in groups of 30 outdoors while pubs and restaurants will be able to seat customers indoors and cinemas and theatres can reopen.

It is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed on June 21.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has insisted he will not speed up England's lockdown relaxation, despite one study suggesting herd immunity from Covid-19 could be achieved by Monday.