People having house parties and not respecting social distancing are to blame for spreading coronavirus, according to three Welsh councils.
Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf councils say data from the Test, Trace, Protect service shows transmission is being driven by people who are not following current rules in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.
They claim people socialising in close contact with those outside of their household, at work places, hospitality venues and other venues such house parties are driving the rise in infection rates.
Local lockdown rules dictate that people cannot meet up indoors with anyone who is not a member of their household.
Leader of Merthyr Tydfil Council Kevin O’Neill said: “The figures speak for themselves and there’s growing concern around the night-time economy sector.
“The majority of pubs and club are being responsible, as are the majority of people, however once again it’s the few who are spoiling it for others.
“As the growing evidence points to those socialising and having parties, there’s also evidence to suggest that house parties can lead to anti-social behaviour and now is simply not the time.”
Find out more about coronavirus restrictions in your area
All licensed venues are currently legally required to take the contact details of all people who enter their venue so the Test, Trace, Protect service can act quickly if there is a risk people in a venue may have been exposed to coronavirus.
Pubs and clubs are also legally required to implement social distancing measures such as at least two metre distance between separate households, table service only, no loud music, and stopping alcohol sales by 10pm.
Pub crawls and visiting multiple venues are also discouraged as it increases the risk of spreading it within the community.
But it is house parties where people ignore the lockdown rules that are a concern, according to all three councils.
Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Andrew Morgan said: “This is a really concerning trend that we are seeing across the region, which needs to be brought under control.
“We’ve been in a local lockdown for three weeks now, and we are not seeing the number of cases reduce at the rate we should be seeing – we still have sustained high levels of infection.
“The worrying increase in cases linked to house parties and social contact is also something that is being tackled, but we need the support of the community to do this effectively. If you feel the health of your community is being put at risk, report it.
“People in Rhondda Cynon Taf and across the region are working really hard to stick to the rules, often missing out on things that are important to them and their families.
“Council officers are working seven days a week, in close partnership with South Wales Police, to support businesses to comply and swiftly deal with those that are not abiding by the current regulations. We all have a responsibility to keep our communities safe.”
Current restrictions mean house parties are not permitted indoors, and are limited to 30 people when taking place outdoors.
Social distancing of at least two metres must also be maintained, and good hand hygiene practiced.
Health protection measures are reduced in social gatherings where people feel comfortable, according to evidence, with people less likely to practice social distancing especially when consuming alcohol.
Leader of Bridgend Council Huw David said: “I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to follow pandemic guidelines in order to keep yourself, your friends, your family and your community safe.
“The effort we make now will be instrumental in determining whether current pandemic restrictions have to continue, can be lifted, or need to be intensified in order to stop the increasing spread of the coronavirus.
“Many residents are already making a huge effort to turn the tide against the virus, so please, don’t let that effort go to waste.”
Anyone concerned about businesses or residents not adhering to the current coronavirus regulations can report venues by calling police on 101.
Full details of the local lockdown restrictions for Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf can be found at www.gov.wales/local-lockdown