Wales First Minister has set out his vision for what ‘normal life’ will look like in the months to come when restrictions can start to be lifted.
Earlier, Mark Drakeford had said that talks are being held with tourism and hospitality industries about lifting some restrictions around Easter, which is six weeks away at the start of April, as long as infections rates continue to fall and pressures are taken off the NHS. Later, asked about what he thinks “normal life” will look like during the latest coronavirus briefing at Friday lunchtime, he said that he would like to be able to get back to “the way things were last summer”.
However, he also warned that coronavirus was going to be around for months to come but said his hope was that we could return to what life was like in summer 2020. He highlighted the fact that last summer we could:
- Meet people outside our households
- Go on holiday
- Eat out.
Mr Drakeford told the briefing: “Last summer, we were still social distancing and still being asked to wear masks in public in crowded places but we were able to travel, restaurants were open and people could go on holiday.
“Life was significantly different and if we could get back to that, that is not where it ends but I thought that would be where the new normal was heading. If we could get to that, it would give us the platform to move on, provided things continue to improve.
“Coronavirus is going to be with us for months to come. It is going to be a long goodbye, even when it is in the rear view mirror we will need to go on being careful about the way we live our daily lives.
“If we could get back to the way things were back in July and August of last year, I think people will notice the difference very significantly in their lives and will be prepared to do the small things that we all can do, because they do make a real difference while allowing us to re-open the parts of our lives that matter so much.”
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Asked whether people should book a holiday, Mr Drakeford said: “People should do it knowing the uncertain world we are living in. There are no guarantees in this. No-one can offer them a guarantee.”
The next review of restrictions in Wales is due to be announced next Friday (February 19), and Mr Drakeford warned that any changes to the restrictions that have been in place since December 20 would be “very modest” if they happened.
“I hope when I stand here next week, I will be confirming that the foundation phase will be going back to school,” he said.
“If there is anything else, it will be very modest indeed. We will monitor that as carefully as we possibly can. I think people will understand that. Nobody will want us to throw away all the efforts that people have made since before Christmas. We will not do that.
“We will look to restore freedoms in a way that continues to secure our safety against coronavirus, while always wanting to restore, as safely as we can, the freedoms we have been missing.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk