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Social distancing could continue in Wales for the rest of the year, the first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford says it remains one of the "strongest defences" against Covid.

The warning comes after the news outdoor sporting events and concerts can resume from Monday for up to 10,000 people sitting or 4,000 standing.

Extended households can also expand to include a third and up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

But, Mr Drakeford says he is "not certain there is a huge thirst" for people to give up safeguards, including the 2m social distancing rule.

"I think they will remain part of the repertoire here in Wales during the rest of the summer, and maybe into the rest of this year," he told a coronavirus press briefing.


"Whether we will be able to move from them being mandatory to just [things] we advise people about will depend on whether we continue to see improvements of the position here in Wales."

what is changing on 7 June
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Allowing more people to meet indoors was ruled out until at least late June, as other lockdown rules were eased.

The decision to delay comes amid "growing concern" over the Delta variant, first identified in India, and the Welsh government said the delay was designed to allow more people to get vaccinated.

There are currently 97 cases of the variant in Wales, up 67% compared with the previous week.

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Mr Drakeford said: "The risk of infection is significantly less outdoors than it is indoors. This is why we are phasing in the changes in this three-week cycle.

"This will allow more people to enjoy events outdoors and take advantage of the Welsh summer, while we continue to roll out the vaccination programme to all adults."

However, he added: "We have to be realistic. The fact that the Delta variant is spreading so quickly in the north-west of England will mean that it will cross the border into Wales.

"That is why we are delaying some of the measures we might otherwise take to maximise the amount of vaccination that we can carry out because that is our best defence against that new variant."

The lockdown measures will be reviewed again on 21 June.

Parkrun
image captionOrganised running events for up to 4,000 people can go ahead from Monday - with social distancing
Who can meet indoors in Wales?
The changes - described as a "phased" move to Wales' alert level one - will begin from Monday.

It means three households are able to meet indoors and have physical contact - but each household can only meet one other at a time.

A further household with a single adult, or single adult with caring responsibilities, will still be able to join extended households.

Further rule changes on indoor activity will be considered by the Welsh government before 21 June - when an ending to restrictions in England may happen.

Call for pub rules to be lifted
Why are hospitality workers leaving the industry?
Pubs and restaurants have been allowed to serve customers inside from 17 May, however, the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective has called for all significant restrictions to be lifted before July, including scrapping the 2m social distancing rule.

'We will find solutions'
Protestors gathered outside the Wales Millennium Centre on Tuesday night
image captionWeMakeEvents organised protests and campaigns to help support the arts
Sarah Hemsley-Cole, of campaign group WeMakeEvents Cymru, said the announcement was "great news" for the industry, having been crippled by repeated lockdowns.

In recent weeks a series of test events have been held, including the Tafwyl and Eid festivals in Cardiff Castle, while the upcoming Wales v Albania football match at Cardiff City Stadium is limited to 4,000 spectators.

Ms Hemsley-Cole said while they were happy with the Welsh government's "cautious" approach, the test events had been "incredibly restrictive" with some limited to just 100 people amid social distancing.

She added: "The reality is, as long as there is social distancing, that is a challenge for the sector... it's a real challenge to make things work, and people sort of forget they have to maintain it.

"But we understand it is there to make us safe and we will find solutions and a way to make it work."

Rock The Park festival before Covid
image captionUp to 4,000 standing can attend outdoor events in Wales from 7 June
Annual events, such as Brecon Jazz and Green Man Festival, were waiting to see if they would be allowed to go ahead this summer, while Live Nation have confirmed they will now hold four outdoor concerts, each for up to 10,000 people, in Cardiff Bay in September.

"There's been an optimistic outlook for the last month or so but we're very pleased with this news," said Rob Waller, of Live Nation. "It's great to have live music back."

'We've moved 41 weddings'
Pentre Mawr Country House wedding venue
image captionThe owners of Pentre Mawr Country House wedding venue say they can safely host more than 30 people across six acres
However Bre Carrington-Sykes, who runs Pentre Mawr Country House wedding venue in Llandyrnog, Vale of Clwyd, told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast she was "very disappointed" rules have not changed for outdoor weddings.

"You can have 300 people on an airplane yet most of our weddings are outdoor events and 30 is just ridiculous," she told BBC Radio Wales.

"The idea that you can have thousands of people social-distancing at an event is crazy.

"We've had 15 months of no income. We're one of the lucky ones we can afford it, but I don't know how much longer we can afford it for. We've already moved 41 weddings in the last year."

The Welsh Conservative leader in the Senedd says businesses will be concerned there were no announcements on financial support.

Andrew RT Davies said: "There's £140m of unallocated money in the Welsh government's coffers for business support but there was no mention of that."

Plaid Cymru welcomed the changes but pressed for more support to businesses while "the economic devastation of the pandemic remains".

No 'hot-spot' ban
Despite concerns over the Delta variant, Wales will not push for a ban on travel from hot-spots in England, similar to that demanded last year.

"I don't think that's the position that we are in at the moment," said Mr Drakeford.

"We are asking people coming into Wales from those hotspot areas to behave carefully and responsibly, to take all the precautions you would expect them to take to keep themselves and other people safe."

How many people have been vaccinated in Wales?
Wales has the highest vaccination rate in the UK, with 2,169,624 people having been given a first vaccine dose, or 68.5%.

Figures also show 1,181,259 people have now had a second jab, almost 40% of the population of Wales.

The case rate in Wales is currently 8 per 100,000 people over seven days.

Covid-19 cases in Conwy and Wales. Rolling seven-day cases per 100,000 people.  Up to 28 May.
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A cluster of cases, attributed to the Delta variant, has been responsible for a spike in Conwy county, taking the case rate there to 23.

There have been no new deaths with covid reported in Wales for the past nine days.

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