Two households in Wales will be able to form one “extended household” and meet indoors from next Monday, the Welsh Government has announced.
Only one extended household can be formed, and cannot be changed once arranged. Travel restrictions are due to be lifted the same day.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said it means grandparents “will be able to see and hold their grandchildren again”.
It follows similar “support bubble” arrangements elsewhere in the UK.
There is no limit to the number of people that can be in the two households.
But, under the rules, if anyone in an extended household develops symptoms, the entire household will need to self-isolate.
The Welsh Government has asked people to keep records to help with contact tracing if that happens.
The members of the extended household cannot be changed.
People shielding are also included but the first minister warned that if they join an extended household it “will increase their risk of being exposed” to coronavirus.
Mr Drakeford said: “Creating extended households will enable many families to be reunited for the first time since March.
“Grandparents will be able to see and hold their grandchildren again.
“It will help support many working parents with informal childcare over the summer months and it will also support those who are caring for others.”
‘Think about the risks’
Mr Drakeford added: “In some cases, especially in larger families – this may mean making some difficult choices.”
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The first minister asked viewers of the daily Welsh Government press conference to “think about the risks”.
“Think about the consequences – if anyone in the extended household becomes ill, everyone will have to isolate for 14 days,” he said.
“For some people this will have a greater impact than for others, and needs to be thought about carefully.”
The moves coincide with plans to end Wales’ stay local rules, and follows the opening of non-essential retail last Monday.
If the changes result in any “flare ups” the Welsh Government will be able to “make a connection between cause and effect”, Mr Drakeford said.
“We make the changes on the basis of advice and the advice is always that these steps are proportionate and shouldn’t lead to a further acceleration in the spread of coronavirus.”
The first minister said he did not have the “detail in front” of him when he was asked how it would impact people in houses of multiple occupation.
Mr Drakeford said further guidance will to be published later this week.
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