All businesses including nightclubs will be able to reopen in Wales from Saturday and there will be no legal limits on the number of people who can get together as the country moves to Covid alert level 0.
But face coverings will still be required for most people in many public places, including on public transport, in shops and in health and social care settings, and the first minister, Mark Drakeford, continued to urge caution.
“Moving to alert level 0 is another significant step forward,” said Drakeford. “For the first time since the pandemic started, all businesses will be able to open and all legal limits on meeting people in indoor private spaces will be removed.
“Alert level 0 does not mean the end of restrictions and a free-for-all. But it does mean we can all enjoy more freedoms with the confidence there are still important protections in place to make sure our public health is being safeguarded while we are out and about.
“Even if you have been fully vaccinated, meeting outside is safer than inside. Let fresh air into indoor spaces, get tested even for mild symptoms, and self-isolate when you are required to do so.”
Face coverings will not be a legal requirement in hospitality settings where food and drink is served and exemptions will continue for those who cannot wear them. Everyone in Wales must continue to isolate for 10 days if they have Covid-19 symptoms or a positive test result.
However, adults who are fully vaccinated and children and young people under 18 will no longer need to isolate if they are identified as close contacts of someone who has coronavirus.
Wales also announced that it will replicate the changes around international travel being made in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to maintain the same traffic-light system as the rest of the UK.
However, the health minister, Eluned Morgan, expressed frustration that no UK-wide joint decision had been made. “Despite our continued efforts to press for UK-wide decision-making in this area, decisions for England have once again been made without engagement with the Welsh government or the other devolved governments,” she said.
“This is unacceptable – international travel policy affects all parts of the UK and Welsh interests need to be part of the decision-making process.
“We are extremely disappointed with the unilateral approach taken and believe there remain clear public health risks posed by reopening international travel while the virus is circulating globally. For these reasons, we continue to caution against international travel for nonessential reasons this summer.”