Wales is to go into a two-week ‘fire break’ lockdown that will see non-essential and non-food retail, hospitality and leisure businesses close and everyone confined to their homes from 6pm on Friday 23rd October to the 9th November.
Cross-border travel between England and Wales will also be severely restricted, and non-essential travel within Wales will ‘have to stop’.
Everyone in Wales will be required to work from home and the only exceptions will be critical workers and jobs where working from home is not possible. People will also be able to leave their homes to exercise and, presumably, buy food.
Guidance on house moves have also been published. This includes that:
- Home moves can take place if landlord, tenant, buyer or seller have already committed to a date.
- Also, the removals processes, property preparation, handover of keys, surveys and valuations can also take place in line with Covid guidance on working in other people’s homes.
- Property viewings cannot take place during the circuit breaker period and high street estate agencies are required to close. Virtual viewings can continue.
- Surveys are banned; surveyors should not enter occupied properties during the lockdown period. Vacant properties can be entered and street level surveys can take place.
In justification of the measures, First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured) said: “Unless we act the NHS will not be able to look after the increasing number of people who are falling ill due to this deadly virus.
“This is the shortest we can make it, but will be sharp and deep.”
The First Minister also confirmed that students will be required to lockdown in their student accommodation, and also an enhanced package of support for businesses including an additional £300 million added to the country’s Economic Resilience Fund.
Smaller businesses will also automatically be given £5,000 if they are required to close.
“A fire break period is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a longer and much more damaging national lockdown. This is the moment to come together to protect the NHS and to save lives,” said Drakeford.