Local coronavirus restrictions introduced to control outbreaks in South Wales
Written by Gavin on 25th September 2020
Coronavirus laws are being tightened across South Wales this weekend, including in the capital city, in response to a growing spread of cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed.
Local restrictions will come into force in Llanelli from 6pm on Saturday – the first time restrictions have been introduced on a more localised basis – and in Swansea and Cardiff from 6pm on Sunday.
Ministers will also meet public health experts, local authority leaders and others over the weekend to consider whether local restrictions need to be extended to Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen on Sunday evening.
The restrictions, which will apply to everyone living in Llanelli, Cardiff and Swansea are:
- People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
- People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households (sometimes known as ‘bubbles’). This means meeting indoors (in people’s houses, in a pub or elsewhere) with anyone you don’t live with is not allowed at the moment unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person.
- All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.
- Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor places, which are open to the public, such as shops, as well as on public transport – as is the case in the rest of Wales. (There are some limited exemptions for people with disabilities and medical conditions – these are the same as for public transport).
Health Minister Vaughan Gething, said:
“Over the last few weeks we’ve taken action to put local coronavirus restrictions in place in parts of South Wales. Following a worrying rise in cases of coronavirus in the town of Llanelli and in our two largest cities, including the capital – Cardiff and Swansea – we are taking further action by introducing additional measures in these areas.
“Introducing restrictions in any parts of Wales is always an incredibly difficult decision for us to make – having to introduce these restrictions in our biggest cities, including our capital, is another sombre milestone in a difficult year.
“We’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse.
“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”
In Carmarthenshire, action is being taken on a more localised basis because more than eight out of 10 cases are focused on the town of Llanelli. The town’s ward boundaries will be used to define the limits of the restrictions.
A postcode checker will be available on the Welsh Government’s website together with full details about the restrictions.
Local restrictions are already in place in six other areas of South Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly borough, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Newport.
The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.
The Welsh Government is continuing to keep a close watch on the situation in North Wales where the picture is mixed – cases overall are much lower than in South Wales, but there is evidence coronavirus is increasing in some parts of the region.
Keep Wales safe by:
- Always keeping your distance
- Washing your hands regularly
- Working from home wherever you can
- Following any local restrictions
- Following the rules about meeting people
- Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.
Responding to the news that additional restrictions are being imposed on Llanelli on Saturday, and the local authority areas of Cardiff and Swansea on Sunday, Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“While a prudent local response is supported, Welsh Government should seriously consider the earlier closing of pubs and bars as a temporary measure in other areas, so as to help avoid further county-wide restrictions.
“The domino effect of local authority areas being closed doesn’t have to be inevitable, but will become so if more far-reaching preventative measures are not brought in.
“The hyperlocal response to restrictions in Carmarthenshire make sense when transmission is concentrated in just the Llanelli area, but this should be applied consistently. Could the Llantrisant area, with its relatively low case numbers, have been left out of the tight RCT-wide restrictions, for example?”