Two households can meet indoors a week earlier than before in Wales as the Welsh government accelerates parts of its program to relax coronavirus restrictions.
The reopening of gyms and leisure centers as well as organized outdoor activities are also set to move forward as the number of new Covid-19 infections has decreased.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the “improvements” in public health and the ongoing vaccination program meant that changes could be made to previously announced plans.
The Welsh government said Thursday that coronavirus cases in Wales this week fell from 37 to less than 21 per 100,000, while the number of people with Covid-19 in hospital beds was 89 – the lowest since September 22 .
As part of the schedule change, organized outdoor activities for up to 30 people can take place from April 26th instead of May 3rd.
Wedding receptions for up to 30 people are also permitted outdoors from April 26th – also one week earlier than previously announced.
Reopening of gyms, leisure centers and fitness facilities is allowed from May 3rd, one week before May 10th.
This applies to one-to-one or one-to-one lessons, but not for practice courses.
An expanded household rule again allows two households to meet and contact each other indoors from May 3rd and not May 10th.
All data are “subject to the continuing favorable public health situation” and will be confirmed in a review of coronavirus regulations on April 22nd, the Welsh government said.
Mr Drakeford said: “The public health situation in Wales continues to improve thanks to everything you are doing to help us fight this terrible virus.
“The cases of the virus are decreasing and our incredible vaccination program is getting stronger.
“Last week we set our program to further reopen the economy and ease the restrictions we have lived with for so long as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to ensuring the safety of all.
“This week we can bring forward some of our plans based on the improvements that we continue to see.
“This is only possible because of the efforts everyone makes to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Further easing of the restrictions are planned from Monday.
This includes the return of children to schools, all students after 16 years in continuing education centers and campuses reopening to mixed face-to-face and online learning.
All remaining non-essential retail and contact services will reopen.
Travel restrictions on entering and leaving Wales are also to be lifted, but people will not be able to travel to countries outside the Common Travel area – the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland – without a proper apology.
Political advertising restrictions will be removed as long as it is safe to do so, and wedding show-arounds by appointment are permitted.
From April 26th, outdoor attractions such as fairs and theme parks can reopen – the date has not changed.
Outdoor hospitality, including in cafes, pubs and restaurants, will resume from the same unchanged date.