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Wales eases more lockdown restrictions

Written by on 10/08/2020

Indoor gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and leisure centres in Wales are allowed to reopen today for the first time in more than four months.

Children’s indoor play areas can also reopen, excluding ball pits which are more difficult to keep clean.

The lockdown-easing measures come into force in Wales a week after pubs, cafes and restaurants were able to serve customers indoors, and groups of up to 30 people were told they can gather outside.

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All outdoor sport and leisure facilities, including outdoor gyms, have been able to operate since July.

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed the latest changes to coronavirus measures, but he reminded the public to maintain a two-metre distance where possible and limit close interaction with others by using screens, face coverings and improving hygiene.

He said: “We continue to take a step-by-step approach to easing the lockdown, closely monitoring the impact of each change we make.

“As more parts of our society and economy re-open, it is vital we all keep in mind our personal responsibility to do the right thing and make sure we continue to protect ourselves and others from the virus.

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“The rules we have in place are not optional, they are there to protect us all. They are essential if Wales is to avoid another lockdown.

“As more and more premises are allowed to open, specific rules that apply to those premises, and to all workplaces, are particularly important because they are designed to keep us safe.”

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh government would “take action” and will not hesitate to close individual premises that fail to comply.

Local authorities have been given more powers to enforce distancing measures – meaning enforcement officers will be able to issue a “premises improvement notice” to those that have breached the rules.

Indoor gyms in England have been able to open since 25 July, while in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said they could reopen there from 14 September.

Gyms in Northern Ireland were allowed to reopen from 10 July, along with outdoor playgrounds.

Shoppers in Northern Ireland will be legally required to wear face coverings from today.

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The rule applies to certain indoor settings, including shops, with the executive office urging the public to “wear one for everyone” in its new campaign.

It said in a statement: “The use of face coverings is a vital defence in our battle against COVID-19. That’s why we have taken the step to make this mandatory in certain settings from today.

“This is about looking after each other and doing everything we can to stay on top of this virus. It will help to save lives.”

The new rule does not apply to children under 13 or those who cannot wear a mask because of health or disability reasons.

 Sky News

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