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Mark Drakeford: "The two metre rule is staying in Wales"

 

The 'two metre rule' is to remain in Wales, while elsewhere in the UK the rule will soon be reduced to one metre with restrictions.

From the 4th of July in England, the two-metre social distancing rule will be slashed to 'one metre plus', with Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirming the news in a statement in the House of Commons earlier this week.

In Northern Ireland, the Stormont Executive has agreed to reduce social distancing in Northern Ireland to one metre with restrictions from Monday 29th of June, with First Minister Arlene Foster confirming the news on Friday.

But in Wales, the two metre rule is to stay for now, with Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething saying earlier this week that the Welsh Government had not seen the evidence which has led to England relaxing its social distancing rules.

First Minister Mark Drakeford says the Welsh Government continues to take its advice on social distancing from SAGE.

The latest Advice from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) updated on the 4th of June, states that, "the best current evidence suggests that 1m carries between 2 and 10 times the risk of 2m of separation."

So according to SAGE, if the social distancing measurement is halved from two metres to one metres, the probability of contracting the virus is multiplied at least twice.

(The Vale of Glamorgan Council have installed signs and markers throughout the Vale's shopping high-streets)

But, the First Minister told Bro Radio on Friday that "There are things you can do to mitigate that possible change" and that the hospitality sector in particular had been helpful in putting forward a list of "mitigation measures" that could be used if social distancing is decreased from two metres.

"What the sector has been doing very helpfully and responsibly is putting to us a list of mitigation measures that they could use if people were allowed to be at a closer distance than two metres."

"I want to be clear, the two metre rule is staying in Wales, if we are able to identify a small number of exceptions to that rule, then it will have to be because we are confident that the mitigation measures in place are sufficient."

(Mark Drakeford answers a question from Bro Radio's Dan Moffat about how the hospitality sector could return in Wales)

The two metre rule has been a big issue for business owners, with those in the hospitality sector worried about the restrictions it will place on the number of people allowed in bars and restaurants.

The Welsh Government has faced calls from opposition parties this week to review the rule, with Shadow Minister for Covid Recovery Darren Millar MS saying, ''We encourage the Welsh Government to urgently review the restrictions here as soon as possible in order that a similar lifeline can be thrown to people and businesses across Wales."

Meanwhile on Friday Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones said, "We asked for reassurances of a timescale for reopening the hospitality sector in Wales. Our calls have been ignored.

"We now face the very real possibility that many in the sector will decide to make redundancies, or worse, be forced to close".

The Welsh Government are hoping to have some good news for pubs and restaurants with outdoor areas or beer gardens next week.

Mark Drakeford said last Friday when announcing the new lockdown restrictions, that he was hoping to have opportunities to move Wales out of lockdown faster, but only if safe to do so, this is something he highlighted again when talking to Bro Radio on Friday afternoon.

"We are approaching this in a positive spirit, we want to find a solution and if we can then we'll be able to make an announcement.

"But we won't make an announcement until we are sure that what is in place is sufficient to go on protecting people in the context that people will be able to have a drink."

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One comment on “Mark Drakeford: "The two metre rule is staying in Wales"”

  1. it's good news that wales is taking more precautions but with the 5 mile limit WHY is public transport (trains) allowing ppl to come to barry island also COACH firms doing the same if companys are allowed to transport further than the limit WHY is there a limit cause it's totally being ignored PLEASE SHUT DOWN ALL BEACHES

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