Wales and Scotland Move to Relax Some Covid Restrictions
Wales and Scotland, which set their own public health policies within Britain, each said on Monday that they were relaxing some pandemic rules, though neither went quite as far as England did last week.
Wales dropped its mask mandate for some indoor public venues, like cinemas, theaters and gyms, though it kept a requirement to wear them in retail shops, on public transportation and in health care settings.
“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and all their sacrifices, cases of coronavirus are falling across Wales,” the region’s first minister, Mark Drakeford, said in a statement. “Now is the right time to relax the general requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places.”
Wales also lifted its mask mandate for students in classrooms, though it said secondary-school students should continue to wear them in communal areas.
The Welsh government said that if “public health conditions continue to improve,” the region’s remaining mask rules could be dropped by the end of March. Mr. Drakeford is expected to speak on the subject later this week.
Scotland said on Monday that people there would no longer have to present proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and some other indoor public venues. The Scottish government said remaining restrictions would be lifted by March 21 if new-case reports do not increase.
Saying that it was time to learn to live with the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that he was lifting all of England’s remaining legal restrictions and ending free coronavirus testing in the nation. His move came the day after it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had tested positive for the virus and was experiencing symptoms.
Britain as a whole reported an average of 28,430 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week, according to a New York Times database, with both new cases and deaths declining overall. Regionally, relative to their populations, Scotland reported the most transmission, with about 109 cases for every 100,000 residents; Northern Ireland was next with 95. The figures for England and Wales were much lower, at about 36 new cases per 100,000 in England and 25 in Wales.