Households in Wales will be able to pair up and form an ‘extended household’ bubble from Monday under plans to allow families to reunite for the first time since March
- Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has unveiled next step for lockdown easing
- Two households allowed to pair up and form ‘extended household’ from Monday
- However, people will only be allowed to belong to one ‘extended household’
- That means many families will face ‘difficult choices’ over who to pair up with
Households in Wales will be allowed to pair up and form one ‘extended household’ from next Monday under plans to allow families to reunite for the first time since March.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today set out the next steps in his lockdown easing plans.
He said as long as there is not a spike in coronavirus cases between now and next week then people will be able to join with others in a bubble in which social distancing will no longer be required.
However, he warned people will only be allowed to be part of one ‘extended household’ which means many families will face ‘difficult’ decisions about who to join up with.
Mr Drakeford also said ‘chopping or changing’ the people contained within the household will not be allowed but there will not be any restrictions on the size of the grouping.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced plans to allow two households in Wales to pair up and form one ‘extended household’ from next Monday
Speaking at the daily Welsh Government coronavirus briefing, Mr Drakeford said: ‘In the Welsh Government we have been working hard over the last few days on the concept of enabling two households to come together to join and to form one extended household.
‘And this can allow families and close friends who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic over the last few months to reconnect with one another and to enjoy one another’s company again indoors.
‘Our aim has been to introduce this in a way which is as safe as possible, as fair as possible, and as simple as possible.
‘And we’ve now reached the stage where, provided the situation remains favourable this time next week, we will be able to lift the stay local requirement, and at the same time we’ll be able to make changes to the rules to allow people from two separate households to form one exclusive extended household.’
Current ‘stay local’ lockdown rules in Wales mean that people are not supposed to travel more than five miles from where they live.
Mr Drakeford said Wales had been examining bubble-style schemes used in countries like New Zealand.
He said that while the ‘extended household’ plan is ‘simple, there will still have to be some rules’.
He explained: ‘What we are proposing for Wales will make sure that all households are included.
‘There will be no difference between the size of the two households which you can be joined with and you will be able to travel from the 6th of July to join your extended household.
‘But although it is simple, there still have to be some rules. Any one person will only be able to join one extended household.
‘Only people living in the same two households which form it can join that extended household.
‘The extended household must contain the same people for the foreseeable future – there can’t be any transfers or chopping or changing.
‘And if any one in an extended household develops symptoms of coronavirus then that entire extended household will need to self-isolate.’
Mr Drakeford said ‘extended households’ will be asked to keep a record of members so that if one person develops coronavirus symptoms the nation’s contact tracing system can quickly ‘swing into action’.
‘By creating extended households we will enable many families to be reunited for the first time since March,’ he said.
‘Grandparents will be able to see and hold their grandchildren again. It will help support many working parents with informal childcare over the weeks ahead.
‘And it will also offer important support to those who are caring alone for others.
‘But because any one of us will only be able to belong to one extended household this will mean making choices and in some cases, especially in larger families, these choices will be difficult.
‘But because the virus is still with us we all have to face making these choices together.’