All outdoor visitor attractions in Wales – including the grounds of museums, galleries and heritage sites – have been told to close from Monday 14 December due to the rapidly accelerating number of Covid cases.
First minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement today, saying the “seriousness of the crisis we face demands no less”. He outlined plans to introduce a new fourth tier to the nation’s traffic light system of Covid restrictions, which would put the country in lockdown again.
Wales is now at alert level 3 (high risk), the strictest level of restrictions short of a full lockdown. There is no information available yet regarding when the restrictions will be reviewed, and when visitor attractions can once again open to the public.
All secondary schools and colleges will also be told to deliver their classes online from Monday under the latest restrictions. However non-essential shops, including Christmas markets, are allowed to remain open.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after indoor visitor attractions were instructed to close until further notice.
Drakeford warned that Wales would go into alert level 4 after Christmas unless cases start to fall.
He said: “Today in Wales, we are at alert level 3, the traffic light is red, the level of risk is very high.
“If the strengthened measures of last week and the extra action of this week – together with the efforts each and every one of us need to make – if those measures do not succeed in turning the tide of the virus, then it is inevitable that we will have to consider a move to alert level 4 immediately after Christmas.”
However, he added: “That move is not a foregone conclusion, the future remains in our hands. If we act together and all reduce the people we see and mix with, we can change the course of this terrible virus.”
The new measures will be reviewed every three weeks on a rolling basis. The Welsh government will release an updated version of its Covid control plan next week.
Drakeford said: “This updated plan shows how the national measures will be introduced in a more uniform way as we move through the pandemic, providing greater certainty for people and businesses.”