UP TO FOUR households will soon be able to join together in Wales, in an extension of the lockdown rules on so-called "extended households".

Currently, two households are allowed to join together, but first minister Mark Drakeford will today (Friday) announce the Welsh Government's new plan to further ease the coronavirus lockdown and allow more friends and relatives to meet up indoors.

The change, which is set to come into effect from Saturday, August 22, will mean more people can join together to meet indoors and do activities like go for a meal or drink together.

An extended household means everyone in that group can interact as if they lived under the same roof, even if they live in separate homes.

But the formation of an extended household is not flexible. Once you have decided with whom you would like to form an extended household, you cannot change your mind.

“These are cautious, step by step changes," Mr Drakeford said. "We are learning from what is happening across the UK and outbreaks are mainly linked to people meeting others inside the home.

"That is why it is so important we don’t invite people outside our extended households into our homes.

"We have made so much progress and we mustn’t jeopardise this. That means we are not at a point where we should be visiting anyone’s home at any time."

Also from August 22, up to 30 people will be allowed to have a meal together indoors following a wedding, civil partnership, or funeral – but only if social distancing can be maintained.

The Welsh Government is also tightening rules for businesses. From next week, all hospitality businesses and other "high-risk settings" must collect the contact details of their customers.

“There are also indications from other parts of the UK where pubs opened earlier than Wales that outbreaks have been linked to those places," Mr Drakeford said. "If we are to avoid introducing local lockdown measures that could require the whole sector to close, it is vital we can quickly respond to any outbreaks.

"Providing our contact details when attending these premises will mean people can be contacted quickly by our Test Trace Protect teams if they may have been exposed to coronavirus."

The first minister added: "While many businesses are being careful to collect contact details, there are too many reports of this not happening. As a result, we will be bringing in new regulations next week to make this compulsory.

“This pandemic is far from over and we all still have a duty to do our part to keep Wales safe.”