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Non-essential retail to be closed during two-week lockdown in Wales

Lauretta Roberts
19 October 2020

Wales has today announced its plans to place the entire country under lockdown for two weeks from this Friday, which will include the closure of non-essential retail.

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, said the "firebreak" lockdown was designed to gives its health services the breathing space required in the lead-up to winter.

Everyone will be required to stay at home, unless they have to travel for work, from 23 October and 9 November, with all gatherings banned and all non-essential retail, hospitality and tourism businesses required to close.

The firebreak or circuit breaker lockdown was been enacted on the advice of the UK Government Drakeford said: “The window in which we have to act is only very small and in order to be successful we need everyone’s help."

About 2.3 million people in Wales — around two-thirds of the population across 15 of its 22 counties — are currently living in communities under local lockdown rules.

To help business through the lockdown, the Welsh government has created a £300 million “extra economic resilience fund” and has added a further £150 million to its existing “economic resilience fund”.

Every business covered by the small business rate relief will receive a £1,000 payment and any small retail, hospitality and leisure business will get a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

So far Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls to place England under a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown to co-incide with the half-term break for schools. He has defied the advice form the Government's scientific advisers, preferring a local approach to stemming the rise in infections.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been applying pressure to Johnson to carry out a lockdown but the Prime Minister instead has introduced a three-tier system each carrying varying degrees of restrictions, according to infection rates. Even under Tier 3, the highest tier, non-essential retail can still operate.

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