Last reviewed 21 June 2021

Following the decision by the UK Government to delay the lifting of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions (see Freedom day moved back by four weeks), the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments have now given their own updates.

Wales

At its latest review of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restriction) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said that, given the spread of the delta variant in communities across Wales and a sustained increase in cases of coronavirus overall, he had decided to “pause changes” to the regulations.

They will be reviewed again on 15 July with the First Minister arguing that the intervening four weeks could help to reduce the peak number of daily hospitalisations by up to half, while providing time for more people to receive their second dose of vaccine.

Mr Drakeford confirmed that there would be some minor and technical amendments to the coronavirus regulations on 21 June, to make them easier to understand and easier to apply for businesses.

These are:

  • The number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership reception or wake, organised by a business in an indoors regulated premises, such as an hotel, will be determined by the size of the venue and a risk assessment.

  • Small “grassroots” entertainment, such as music and comedy venues, which may otherwise be caught by the restrictions, are not prevented from operating at alert level two and lower.

  • Primary school children will be able to stay overnight in a residential outdoor education centre. Guidance will set out that groups should be limited to school contact groups or bubbles.

  • Regulation 16, on taking reasonable measures, is being updated to reflect the latest evidence on the hierarchy of risk, including incorporating ventilation as an important mitigation and to clarify rules around two metre distancing for groups of six people in regulated premises or outdoors.

Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that legislation is to be introduced that will extend by six months some of the emergency measures that had to be introduced because of the pandemic.

The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill will be scrutinised and debated by MSPs over three days from 22 June.

It removes a number of measures no longer considered necessary to support the ongoing public health response, and extends others beyond the original expiry date of 30 September 2021.

These include major changes to how the court system operates, as well as provisions to keep businesses and public services running during the pandemic and temporary changes to the law for debtors and tenants facing financial hardship.

Measures proposed for extension for a further six months include:

  • the ability for hearings across criminal and civil courts and tribunals to be held remotely;

  • an increased notice period of six months to protect private and social sector tenants from eviction, up from the pre-pandemic 28-day notice period; and

  • an increase in the minimum debt level that an individual must owe before a creditor can make them bankrupt at £10,000, up from £3000 pre-pandemic.

Measures proposed for expiry include some temporary measures on marriages and civil partnerships that are no longer needed now that registration offices have re-opened.

Ms Sturgeon also announced that, while current restrictions on travel between Scotland and Bedford will be lifted, as will those concerning travel to the Republic of Ireland, new restrictions will be introduced on non-essential travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford.