Leader readers will have seen that the First Minister announced on Friday that the current measures would remain in place until the next review date, on Friday 29 January. However during this next period, the Welsh Government will focus on three specific areas – education, workplaces, and supermarkets.
Following consultation with Colegau Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association, the Welsh Government had agreed to continue remote learning until 18 January. They have now decided that the situation will be reviewed on 29 January, along with all other measures, and a decision taken then on when schools and colleges can reopen.
Until then schools will only reopen for vulnerable learners and children of keyworkers, with schools offering support to children who are remote learning.
It is important to emphasise that schools are not less safe than they were prior to the Christmas break. The number of cases we are seeing across Wales are extremely concerning and with the Welsh Government encouraging everyone to stay at home where possible, it was agreed this too should apply to schools and colleges.
Qualifications Wales has now announced that Spring assessments will not go ahead, and revised plans will be announced shortly.
I am fortunate that I am able to continue to carry out my role through working from home, however for many that is not the case. There are many out there, our key workers, who have to physically go to their jobs.
The Welsh Government will be working with employers and trade unions to make sure that our workplaces are as safe as possible. Last April, Wales was the first nation to introduce legislation to ensure that employers took reasonable measures to protect their staff. Although we are almost one year on, it is still just as important that employers are doing all they can.
Last month I also launched a campaign encouraging the people of Wales to ensure that they know their rights in the workplace, and if they need to, to seek support. You can read more about the campaign on my website – www.hannahblythyn.cymru.
In recent weeks constituents, and staff, have been in contact with me to raise concerns about the situation in supermarkets, where they feel that some coronavirus regulations are not being followed as closely as they should be.
I want to remind Leader readers that there is an expectation that those who can, wear a face covering, and that we all continue to practice good social distancing. We all need to continue to play our part in keeping ourselves, and others, safe.
The Welsh Government will be engaging with supermarket chains to ensure that they are safe places and that they as employers are playing their part in keeping staff and customers safe.
As always, if you do have any queries then please get in touch with me at Hannah.Blythyn@senedd.wales or on 01352 762102, and I will do my best to support you.