Non-essential shops that can comply with social distancing measures can reopen on Monday (June 22), First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.
Speaking at a Welsh Government press briefing on Friday (June 19), Mr Drakeford warned the “threat of coronavirus hasn’t gone away”, but said: “Given the progress we have made, we are able to take some additional cautious steps to further unlock our society and economy.
“Our focus continues to be on the health risks of the outbreak, but we can now begin to cautiously focus much more squarely on the wider economic and societal impact the virus is having.”
Other lockdown relaxation measures have also been announced, including allowing private prayer in places of worship where social distancing can be followed and enabling house viewings to take place in vacant properties.
Restrictions on outdoor sports courts will be lifted, but no contact or team sports will be allowed.
The reopening of non-essential shops comes a week before schools in Wales reopen on June 29.
The five-mile travel rule will remain in place for two more weeks until July 6, when ministers have agreed it will be lifted, should conditions allow.
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The First Minister also told the tourism industry to start preparing for a possible reopening on July 9, with discussions set to be held with the hospitality sector about the phased reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The hair and beauty sector could also see restrictions lifted by July 9.
Mr Drakeford said: “I know the wider tourism industry is keen to reopen and to salvage some of this summer’s season.
“I am therefore signalling owners of self-contained accommodation should use the next three weeks to prepare to reopen, working with their local communities.
“Many aspects of daily life in Wales will be moving into the amber zone in our traffic light system. But we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves from the virus – that means working from home wherever possible; avoiding unnecessary travel; only meeting with one other household outdoors; maintaining social distancing and washing your hands often. It may also mean wearing a face covering in some situations.
“It is thanks to the efforts of everyone in Wales that we have slowed the spread of coronavirus but we can’t stop now. We need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the virus and to keep Wales safe.”
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