First Minister unveils plans to reopen shops, hairdressers and tourism sector

First Minister, Mark Drakeford has set out Welsh Government's plans to reopen shops, the tourism sector, hairdressers and beauty salons.

He has also confirmed plans to remove the five-mile or "stay local" restrictions on July 6, as long as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to fall.

The First Minister said changes will be introduced on Monday to 'restart the economy'. Credit: Welsh Government

Mr Drakeford made the announcements at Friday's press conference.

Welsh Government are legally obliged to review the lockdown rules every three weeks with the next official review taking place on July 9.

Watch the press conference in full:

Whilst non-essential shops can reopen from next Monday, hairdressers, beauty salons and those in the tourist industry should start to prepare to reopen in another three weeks.

The First Minister said it is "thanks to the efforts we have all made over the last few months" that the risk of coming into contact with someone else who has the virus has been reduced.

He made the announcements with some caution saying owners of hair salons should use the next three weeks to consider how they can reopen safely because "you can't cut hair at a two metre distance."

Monday 22 June:

  • Non-essential retail shops can reopen with social distancing in place.

  • House viewings in vacant properties can take place and postponed sales can be completed.

  • Outdoor sports courts can reopen (but not for contact or team activities).

  • Outdoor markets can reopen.

  • Places of worship can reopen for private prayer.

  • Childcare facilities will reopen on a phased basis to support people returning to work.

Monday 29 June:

  • All pupils can return to school in a phased approach.

Monday July 6:

  • "Stay local" rule lifted, if the number of covid cases continues to fall.

  • Tourist attractions and national parks can reopen.

ThursdayJuly 9 - next official review date

Monday July 13:

  • Owners of entirely self-contained holiday accommodation can reopen.

  • Hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen by appointment only.

Non-essential shops in England reopened on Monday 15. Credit: PA Images

Mr Drakeford said the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease continue to fall, as the 'R' rate stays below one.

He added that this gives enough headroom to make a significant change to lockdown restrictions every Monday for the next three weeks.

When asked about the concept of 'support bubbles' allowing different households to meet as one under certain circumstances, which has already been introduced in England, Mr Drakeford said they will look into the idea next week.

While the "stay local" rule will stay in place for the next two weeks, Mr Drakeford said that people can travel outside their local area before then if there are compassionate grounds to do so.

These steps show Wales moving towards the amber zone of the Welsh Government's traffic light lockdown system.

The First Minister also warned that "the threat of coronavirus has not gone away" and we should continue to work from home where possible, avoid unnecessary travel and regularly wash our hands.

"People are still only allowed to meet one other household at a time, outdoors and we must continue to maintain social distancing", Mr Drakeford said.

He was also asked about the reopening of the hospitality industry in which he said they have "used every bit of headroom" to make the changes being announced today.

"I’ve not been able to say today to the hospitality industry that there are imminent plans to reopen, but I have for non-essential retail, hairdressers and estate agents etc. That has used up all the headroom we have for now.

"Hospitality is not yet in that position [to reopen]", Mr Drakeford said.

In response to the new changes, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives Paul Davis MS said the First Minister had "woken up to...calls for a safe and sensible approach to lifting the lockdown."

“While many of today’s announcements are welcome, the Welsh Labour Government could still have gone further", he added.

“The cruel five-mile rule - a rule that benefits those in the large urban centres only – will be lifted in a fortnight. Why not now, and why wait until Monday to allow non-essential retail businesses to re-open when they were given notice to prepare three weeks ago?

“Many retailers cannot survive just on local customers alone, They should open immediately to take advantage of trade over the weekend and to kickstart the Welsh economy.”