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Present

  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (Chair)
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS

Via video link

  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Ken Skates MS
  • Kirsty Williams MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Lee Waters MS
  • Dafydd Elis Thomas MS
  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
  • Carys Evans, Principal Private Secretary First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Head of Cabinet Division
  • Toby Mason, Head of Strategic Communications (via video link)
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Alex Bevan, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Dan Butler, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Ian Butler, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser (via video link)  
  • Paul Griffiths, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Tom Woodward, Special Adviser (via video link)
  • Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat
  • Jonathan Scourfield, Specialist Policy Adviser (via video link)
  • Dewi Knight, Specialist Adviser for Education Reform (via video link)
  • Chris Jones, DCMO
  • Reg Kilpatrick, Director Local Government
  • Debra Carter, Deputy Director Local Government Strategic Finance (via video link)
  • Zowie Hay, COVID-19 team  
  • Jo Trott, Head of COVID-19 project team
  • Jonathan Price Chief Economist (via video link)
  • Tom Smithson, COVID-19 project team (via video link)
  • Cathy Weatherup, Public Health (via video link)  

Item 1: Three week review of Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations

  1. The First Minister informed Cabinet that the focus of the meeting would be the latest 21 day review of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations and other lockdown measures. The draft MA and associated documents had been circulated to help inform the discussion.
  1. In accordance with the Regulations, the imposition or continuation of a requirement or restriction had to satisfy three conditions. The Regulations must be for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence, spread of infection or contamination. There must be a threat to public health and the restrictions had to be proportionate in what they were intending to achieve.
  1. There was a need to consider, from the information available, whether there was any headroom to relax any restrictions of the lockdown. Any subsequent lifting of the restrictions would need to be monitored to allow an appropriate response should infection rates begin to increase again.
  1. The ‘R’ rate in Wales was still below one, but as the number of cases declines this measurement becomes be more volatile and should be considered alongside a wider suite of indicators, such as the number of COVID-19 patients in critical care beds, which was now at 9% of overall occupancy rates.  Fatalities from COVID related symptoms was the lowest it had been for at least six weeks and the number of deaths being recorded in care homes was now no more than it had been in the same time period in the last two years.
  1. In some estimations around one person in every 10,000 was now predicted to have the virus, which was between 8 and 10 times lower than it had been at the end of March. All of which suggested that there was headroom to lift some of the restrictions.
  1. This was strengthened by the surveillance system being put in place that included Test Trace and Protect, the work of the Biosecurity Centre, the ZOE ‘app’ and the monitoring of waste water developed by Bangor University. In addition, the circuit breakers being developed would enable restrictions to be re-imposed in specific areas should the rate of transmission increase. 
  1. It was proposed that from Monday 22nd June non-essential retail would be allowed to open, providing social distancing measures were in place. Childcare facilities could be also be reopened on a phased basis under new guidelines. It was noted that children from the same families could attend different facilities but an individual child could not attend two separate settings.
  1. The first phase of reopening the housing market would commence, specifically to allow principal home moves where properties were untenanted or unoccupied and for the completion of sales already agreed.  Mortgage valuations and photography for online viewings would be allowed under the guidance for working in somebody’s home.
  1. Cabinet agreed these specific proposals.
  1. A series of other minor proposals were not expected to have a significant impact on transmission rates and were also recommended for implementation from Monday 22nd June. Restrictions on outdoor sports courts would be removed, but outdoor sports would still be constrained by the remaining restrictions on gatherings and social distancing, for example no contact or team sports would be allowed. In addition, a return to training for non-professional elite athletes would be allowed. Sporting governing bodies would need to ensure that specific guidance was available.
  1. In recognition of the work done by the Faith Forum and religious leaders in Wales, private prayer in places of worship where social distancing was maintained would be allowed. However, gatherings should not take place.
  1. People would also be permitted to travel outside their local area on compassionate grounds and to vote in international elections where postal voting was not possible.
  1. Work would continue to gradually increase essential non-COVID activity in the healthcare system, and the Minister for Health and Social Services would issue a statement to highlight what additional services would be available.
  1. Cabinet agreed with these additional recommendations.
  1. Ministers confirmed the restart of more activity in schools from 29th June, as previously set out by the Minister for Education.
  1. Cabinet also discussed other options to consider during the current review period, but due to the need for further evidence, there would be no further changes before Monday 6th July. However, to announce propositions now, with the usual caveat about it being safe to do so, would enable public authorities and businesses to prepare.
  1. One such proposal was to remove the requirement to stay local. Lifting this would require the preparation of public facilities and the development of strategies to manage numbers. This would be particularly important in recognised visitor destinations. It was reported that Local Authorities and National Parks were already preparing to open facilities, such as toilets and car parks, but certainty would be required about whether this could be achieved by Monday 6th July.
  1. Ministers noted that Visit Wales and some outdoor attractions, such as Zoos, were also preparing for when the travel restrictions would be lifted and it would be safe to reopen.
  1. Cabinet agreed that the First Minister should signal the lifting of the stay local requirement on 6th July, providing conditions allow.
  1. As part of the announcement on Friday, and in preparation for the next review on 9th July, it was recommended that the Government should provide forward guidance in respect of areas that may be prioritised for reopening, subject to the public safety measures being met. 
  1. Preparations should be made for the re-opening of the visitor economy, such as self-contained accommodation and outdoor visitor attractions. Arrangements should also be made for the restarting of personal services by appointment, such as hairdressers.
  1. Cabinet agreed the recommendations.

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