THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have announced its planned roadmap out of lockdown in Wales after May’s Senedd election if the public health situation continues to remain positive and vaccination rates continue on the same trajectory.

Labour ministers are responsible for lockdown restrictions until at least 6th May, but to date have refused to listen to Welsh Conservative calls for a detailed roadmap out of lockdown.

Welsh Conservatives have outlined what measures it would take and when, so Welsh families, workers and businesses know what they will get if they vote for the Welsh Conservatives in the upcoming Senedd election.

Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, has previously called for a joined-up approach between the home nations, given that many people in Wales do business, socialise and travel across the border between England and Wales.

Labour ministers are due to conduct two reviews for Wales before the election – on 1st April and 22nd April. The 1st April review is due to see the full return to schools, colleges and other education, reopening of all shops to open and contact services in Wales.

The 22nd April review is exploring areas such as gyms, outdoor attractions, outdoor hospitality, weddings, community centres and organised activities (30 outdoors and 15 indoors).

Welsh Conservatives would also place a ban on people flying in and out of the Welsh Government-owned Cardiff Airport to protect against new variants and until the evidence shows it is safe for holidays to resume.

The Conservatives would backdate business support to 1st April for any retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses that had been closed since that date and during the election period. We will also ensure rapid home testing is available to businesses with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing.

The roadmap outlines three steps after May’s election for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, we would examine the data and evidence.

The assessment will be based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the Welsh NHS.
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The first two steps of the Welsh Conservative roadmap would be considered and debated in an emergency session of the Senedd as soon as possible after May’s election.

Step 1:

Ensure the options listed by the Welsh Government for review 1st April and 22nd April are implemented, if not already done so by the current administration.

Backdate financial business support to 1st April for any retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses that had been closed during the election period.

Step 2, for introduction no earlier than 17 May:

Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – although that will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.

Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).

In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 3, no earlier than 21 June:

It is hoped all legal limits on social distancing can be removed.

The Conservatives hope to lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.

This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

In the meantime, the vaccination programme would continue at pace. Welsh Conservatives hope that the increased protection offered by vaccines will gradually replace the restrictions, with the roadmap published today providing the principles of the transition.

Andrew RT Davies: Wales is crying out for clarity about what lies ahead

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “Welsh families, workers and businesses are crying out for some much-needed clarity about what lies ahead.

“Welsh Conservatives have been calling for a detailed roadmap for over a month, but our calls have been ignored by Labour ministers, who sadly believe if you give the Welsh public an inch, they will take a mile.

“We’ll change that concerning mentality and whilst Labour are in charge until at least 6th May, we want to make clear what will happen after the election if you vote for the Welsh Conservatives.

“The great British and Welsh vaccination story allows us to begin the cautious road to restoring our freedoms while doing all we can to protect our people against Covid.

“But until we restore freedoms at home, and to protect our people against any potential importing of new variants during Europe’s third wave, we would stop holiday flights in and out of the Welsh Government-owned Cardiff Airport until the evidence states they are safe to resume.

“We’d backdate financial support for businesses that have been closed and ignored by the Welsh Labour Government, whilst we would ensure rapid home testing is made available to businesses with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing.

“At this election, it’s imperative parties are straight with the Welsh public about their plans for the economy and society moving forward. Some people will want us to go faster, others slower, but the Welsh Conservatives believe this cautious but irreversible plan will restore our freedoms in a safe and manageable manner.”

Responding to the Welsh Conservatives’ covid roadmap, a Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “It was the Tories who refused the people of Wales an extension of furlough – a lifeline for thousands of businesses. It was the Tories who botched the test and trace system – putting public health in peril. And it was the Tories who handed expensive government contracts to their already wealthy friends whilst hard-working Welsh businesses struggled to get by.

“The notion that the Tories have a semblance of credibility when it comes to protecting lives and livelihoods is laughable.

“Everything about the Tories’ track record on the economy and NHS points towards them being utterly unfit to govern Wales and protect our people.”