With the situation in Wales changing day by day, the Welsh Government is frequently updating its rules and guidelines – I fully appreciate how difficult it is to keep up with the pace and range of changes, but it’s so important that we do. As I’m sure you’re aware, there is lots of advice, answers to frequently asked questions and links to the full legislation on the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council websites.
One of the main issues that has come to light recently, where the message needs to be reinforced, is that around the gathering of people and indoor events.
The general rule is that you cannot socially meet indoors with people who aren’t in your household or extended household. In addition, as of 14 September, meetings or gatherings indoors even within your extended household must be limited to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11). This also applies in places like pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes.
Of course, many Town and Community Councils own and operate social venues like sport clubs and community halls, and it’s very important that people are properly advised regarding reopening these premises and before attempting to organise an event in one of your venues. Welsh law imposes restrictions on people gathering indoors with others without a reasonable excuse and this generally means that any activities being carried on within your venues should have a reasonable excuse to do so.
It is not permitted to arrange to meet people outside your household or extended household to go anywhere indoors together, such as shops, cafes, restaurants, bars or pubs. Likewise, you should not arrange for children to go somewhere indoors together, such as cinemas or amusement arcades, unless they are part of the same household or extended household.
Whilst gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors it is expected that adults and children should continue to maintain social distancing whenever possible from people outside their household, or extended household.
You are very well placed as community leaders to ensure that this message is clear.
As you may have seen in the media, our officers are visiting venues across Carmarthenshire to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 measures. Whilst they are happy to help wherever they can by offering advice and information, the onus and responsibility is on the person responsible for the premises to ensure they are up to speed with legislation and have everything in order. As above, there are plenty of sources of information on the Welsh Government and County Council websites.
Lastly, at this time of year many of us are usually involved in organising community events in the run up to the winter season. In Llanelli, we have already made a decision to cancel the annual Christmas Carnival – this was a tough decision, but the right one. I’m sure you will exercise similar caution, with heed to the Welsh Government advice about community spread of the virus through large gatherings of people.