A new alert level is is just hours away in Wales.

Alert Level Zero has quickly followed Alert Level One, with most restrictions lifted from tomorrow (August 7).

The Government says it is seeking to provide the maximum degree of easement possible, by recognising the wider harms of restrictions, while minimising the spread of the virus.

At the heart of the decision is the desire to only keep restrictions on individual freedoms that have a relatively small detrimental impact on people's lives.

So, what does it mean on the ground?

Alert Level Zero in brief (from August 7)

  • There will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet others, including in private homes, public places or at events.
  • All businesses and premises will be able to reopen.
  • Carrying out a coronavirus risk assessment will continue to be a legal requirement for businesses, employers and event organisers.
  • Businesses, employers and other organisations will still be required to take reasonable measures to manage the risk of coronavirus at their premises.
  • The reasonable measures to be taken, such as physical distancing and other controls, will be for each organisation to consider depending on the nature of the premises and the risks of exposure to coronavirus identified.
  • People should continue to work from home wherever possible.
  • Face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors in public places, such as on public transport, in shops and when accessing healthcare, but not in hospitality settings. The use of face coverings in the workplace should also be considered by businesses and employers as part of their coronavirus risk assessment.

Risk assessments and reasonable measures

There will be a legal requirement for businesses and other organisations to carry out Covid specific risk assessments.

Despite other regulations being relaxed, workplaces and public spaces will still need to put in place mitigations to minimise risks.

The requirement to consult staff on the risk assessment will also be retained.

Testing and self isolation

If you become unwell you will still be expected to self-isolate and get a Covid test.

As we move into the new phase of the pandemic, people who have received both doses of a vaccine will not need to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

The Government has extended its self-isolation support payments until March 2022, with an increase from £500 to £750.

Social distancing

The regulations will no longer give particular prominence to two metre physical distancing as there may now be alternative ways of minimising risk.

In addition, there will not be specific requirements for licensed premises such as table service.

Businesses and other organisations will continue to need to provide information about the risks and measures taken on premises.

Face coverings

Wearing face coverings in indoor public places has been a feature of the pandemic since last autumn.

The requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor regulated settings will be retained at alert level zero at first.

This will include healthcare settings, on public transport, in taxis, and in other indoor settings that are open to the public.

The Government expects to gradually ease the legal requirement to wear face coverings, though the requirements on public transport and in healthcare settings are likely to be in place the longest.

Hospitality premises such as pubs, restaurants and cafes will be exempt from the mandatory requirement to wear face coverings.

Wearing face coverings in the classroom in Welsh schools will no longer be recommended from September.

Working from home

People will be encouraged to continue to work from home where they can.

Working from home will be retained in the Government’s statutory guidance as one of the reasonable measures employers can take to mitigate risks.

If people have symptoms of Covid, they must stay home, isolate and get a Covid test.

Employers must continue to carry out a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, such as physical distancing and improved ventilation.

Education

Childcare and play settings, schools, colleges and universities are expected to operate as close to normal as possible.

If a child, learner or member of staff tests positive for coronavirus, or has any Covid symptoms, they should self-isolate and not attend the childcare or education setting and get a test.

Business support

The Government announced on June 30 that businesses in Wales which continue to be affected by coronavirus restrictions will receive between £1,000 and £25,000, to cover the period up to August 31.

Any venue or business closed by regulations would be eligible for between £5,000 and £25,000.

A Cultural Recovery Fund, available to organisations and individuals in the arts, creative, cultural, events and heritage sectors, covers the period up to September 30.

If new restrictions are required in response to a new variant or other emerging public health developments, the need for additional support will be reviewed.

UK-wide schemes such as furlough, remain at the discretion of the UK Government, although the Welsh Government has said they should not be withdrawn before the economy is ready.

International Travel

The Government’s advice remains that people should avoid all non-essential international travel.

A new digital service for Welsh residents to obtain vaccination certificates was launched on June 25, enabling people who have been fully vaccinated in Wales to view their vaccination status and to download the certificate for use when travelling internationally.

Paper certificates are also available for people who cannot or do not want to use the digital option. Around 20,000 paper certificates have been issued so far.

The Government’s Coronavirus Control Plan can be viewed in full, here.

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