NEW national measures to combat coronavirus have come into force over the border in Wales following the end of the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown.
Groups of up to four people can now meet up in cafes, pubs and restaurants while shops, gyms, hairdressers and places of worship will also reopen.
Supermarkets can again sell non-essential items while people will only be allowed to meet up inside homes with members of one other household if they have joined into a “bubble”.
A 10pm curfew on alcohol sales will carry over from before the firebreak, with people required to prove their home address in bars following concerns people in England could flout its own lockdown and travel to Wales for a drink.
There are no restrictions on travel within Wales, but people will not be allowed to travel outside of the country unless for a reasonable excuse such as work.
There will be a new set of national measures from today, which will follow up all the hard work and sacrifices which have been made during the firebreak
First Minister Mark Drakeford urged the Welsh public to reduce the number of people they see as well as time spent with them, warning that “we cannot go back to the way we were living our lives”.
Mr Drakeford also said people’s behaviours and actions would be more important in controlling the spread of the virus than the new rules and regulations.
The Welsh Labour leader previously said the end of Wales’s firebreak just four days after England entered into a month-long lockdown would create the hardest border between the countries for “several centuries”.
The final week of Wales’s lockdown saw the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions surpass the levels of the previous peak of the virus in April.
The Welsh Government also faced calls to extend restrictions in areas of the south Wales valleys including Merthyr Tydfil – which became the worst-hit area of the UK last week with 741 cases per 100,000 people – as high levels of transmissions continue to rise.