Covid-19 briefing note

Key messages

It’s been good news this week, with the UK ready to start rolling out its mass vaccination programme.

So at last – after months of sacrifice and hardship – there is hope. And we can look forward to Christmas knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

But we need to hang in there for a little bit longer, and keep doing everything we can to limit the spread of the virus.

Because rolling out the vaccination will take time, and the effort we’ve all made during these past few months will be wasted if we stop being careful now.

Last week, Welsh Government First Minister Mark Drakeford made it clear that coronavirus is on the increase again…and that we all need to make a big effort to keep Wales as safe as possible this Christmas.

To help do that, Wales will introduce new restrictions at 6pm tonight (Friday, December 4) – affecting pubs, restaurants and other hospitality and entertainment venues, as well as travel into ‘tier 3’ areas in England.

The measures will be reviewed by December 17.

What will change?

From 6pm tonight, the following restrictions will apply:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will have to close by 6pm and will not be allowed to serve alcohol.
  • After 6pm they’ll only be able to provide takeaway services.
  • Indoor entertainment venues – including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades – must close.
  • Indoor visitor attractions – such as museums, galleries and heritage sites – will also have to close (this includes Wrexham Museum and the galleries at Ty Pawb).
  • Travel between Wales and ‘tier three’ areas in England will not be allowed (rules in England vary from place to place under its three-tier system).

Welsh Government has announced a range of financial support for businesses affected by the changes.

What do you need to do?

There are no other changes, and the basic advice for individuals is the same…limit the number of people you mix with, stick to social distancing, keep your hands clean and wear a face-mask when required.

You can download the new Welsh Government flyer for more tips on how to stay safe this winter.

And if you have any symptoms, apply for a test immediately and follow the self-isolation guidance.

If you’re unsure about any of the current rules and restrictions in Wales, you can view them on the Welsh Government website.

Protect the people you love. Download the Covid-19 NHS app.

Travelling between Wales and England

Because Wrexham is right on the Welsh-English border – next to Cheshire and Shropshire – you might wonder about travel restrictions.

As explained, travel between Wales and ‘tier three’ areas in England will not be allowed from 6pm tonight.

However, both Cheshire West and Shropshire are in ‘tier two’ at the moment, so you can continue to cross the border into these English counties. However, before you do, you should think carefully before you travel, and ask yourself if you should.

Some of our communities sit right on the border and might share facilities – shops, petrol stations and so on – with neighbouring villages in England.

In these instances, it’s often a case of applying common sense and working out what feels like the most sensible option.

As Welsh Government says…think about what you should do, not just what you can do.

Christmas bubbles

From December 23 to 27, travel restrictions will be lifted and three households will be able to form a ‘Christmas bubble.’

The rules will apply across the UK.

It’s welcome news for many of us, but there’s always an increased risk of catching or spreading the virus whenever we come together.

So please continue to be as careful as possible, and look after yourself and your loved ones.

Vaccines save lives

Vaccines have saved millions of lives, and helped combat many diseases – including polio, measles, diphtheria and tetanus.

If enough people are immunised, it’s possible to reduce – or even eradicate – many diseases.

And it’s important to note that vaccines are only rolled out to the UK public once they’re proven to be safe and effective.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccine on the Public Health Wales website.

Trusted sources of info

Misleading claims about coronavirus are always a worry.

Only recently, there were reports of ‘conspiracy theory’ leaflets being pushed through letter boxes in parts of Wales.

So more than ever, we need to protect ourselves from disinformation. Here are three things you can do…

  • Get your information from trusted sources.
  • Question content that makes you react strongly.
  • Think about the motives of those sharing the content, or the source of the content.

Financial support if you’re self-isolating

If you’ve had to isolate at any point since October 23, you might be entitled to a support payment of £500.

There are two types of payment – both designed to help people on low incomes who’ve been told to isolate, but can’t work from home.

£500 Self-Isolation Support Payment

You might qualify for this if:

  • You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) service – either because you’ve tested positive or you’ve recently been in close contact with someone whose tested positive.
  • You’re employed or self-employed.
  • You’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
  • You or your partner are receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

£500 discretionary payment

In exceptional circumstances, councils can make a £500 discretionary payment to a person who meets the above criteria, but doesn’t receive any of the benefits mentioned (Universal Credit etc).

This is for people on low incomes who face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while isolating.

If you think you might be eligible, you can apply on the council’s website.

Download the Covid-19 NHS app…and help keep Wrexham safe.