'Rule of six' and compulsory face masks come into force in Wales as virus cases rise

Face coverings are now mandatory in indoor shops and public spaces in Wales Credit: PA

Face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces and no more than six people from the same extended household can meet indoors, under new coronavirus rules introduced by the Welsh Government.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the changes on Friday after evidence suggested indoor gatherings are the main source of transmission for the virus in Wales.

It comes amid an increase in cases of coronavirus across Wales, as well as the emergence of a number of hotspot areas, including Caerphilly which is now under local lockdown.

People in Wales are also being encouraged to continue working from home wherever possible.

  • What are the new rules?

Face coverings

Face coverings are now mandatory in shops and other indoor public spaces in Wales Credit: PA

From today, it is compulsory for people over the age of 11 to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces, such as shops. There are exemptions for people who cannot wear face coverings for health or medical reasons, similar to those for public transport.

Face coverings will not be required in pubs or restaurants for the time being, but the Welsh Government says it is carrying out a review of the evidence to see whether they should be extended to the hospitality sector.

The Welsh Government says the rules on face coverings are being changed because of an increase of new cases of coronavirus in Wales, which suggests there is "a serious risk of the virus spreading more widely once again."

'Rule of Six'

The 'rule of six' applies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - but differs in each country Credit: PA

Also from today, no more than six people from an extended household in Wales can meet indoors at any one time. The rule applies in pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes. Children under the age of 11 will not be counted in the six.

Up to 30 people can still meet outdoors in Wales provided social distancing is maintained, as the risk in this instance is considered to be lower.

However, this will not apply in Caerphilly County Borough where local lockdown measures have been introduced to control a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Extended households in the county are no longer allowed and neither are social meetings with anyone you don’t live with. This applies in pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes.

The so-called 'rule of six' is also being introduced in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but the rules differ slightly for each country.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday: “Coronavirus is on the rise again in Wales, after many weeks of being in decline.

“Once again we are having to focus on tightening restrictions across Wales to prevent cases from rising even higher and prevent the problem from worsening – as we have seen elsewhere in the UK."