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Covid Wales: Stay local rule lifted and all the other changes

THE Welsh Government will lift its stay local rule from Saturday (March 27) to allow the tourism industry to begin a phased reopening.

The new changes come as Wales moves from alert level four to three, and they will also be changed to enable organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under-18s to take place and up to six people from two different households to meet and exercise outdoors.

Self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service, will be able to reopen to people from the same household or support bubble.

The stay local rule will be replaced by an interim all-Wales travel area, which will remain in place until April 12, subject to the public health situation.

For the next two weeks, only those with a reasonable excuse such as work will be able to travel in or out of Wales.

Penarth Times: PA GraphicPA Graphic

Here are the changes in brief:

  • The stay local is to be lifted from Saturday, and all self-contained holiday accommodation settings can reopen to single households or bubbles;
  • Six people from two different households, excluding children under 11, will be able to meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens;
  • Organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under 18s will be able to resume;
  • There will be a limited opening of outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens;
  • Libraries and archives will be able to re-open.

On the latest changes, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “These further relaxations are part of our careful and phased approach to unlocking restrictions and enabling people and businesses to resume their activities in the safest possible way.

“We’re only able to do this because of the sacrifices everyone across Wales has made over the last few months – everything you are doing to keep your loved ones safe is also keeping Wales safe.

“The public health position remains stable; our incredible vaccination programme goes from strength to strength – we have headroom to make these changes.”

The Welsh Government says the changes continue its “planned, step-by-step approach to relaxing the coronavirus restrictions, taking account of the highly-infectious Kent variant which is now the dominant form of the virus in Wales”.

The changes follow the return of primary pupils and many older secondary school and college students to face-to-face learning, as well as the phased reopening of non-essential retail, including the opening of hairdressers and barbers.

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Mr Drakeford added: “We are taking a step-by step approach to relaxing restrictions and want to carry on being able to open up Wales.

“To do that we need everyone’s help. That means staying vigilant for signs of infection; isolating if we have symptoms and arranging to get tested.

“It also means following the basic steps to keep us all safe while we’re out and about – keeping our distance from others; not mixing indoors; avoiding crowds; washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings.

The next review will take place next week, when Welsh ministers will consider the following relaxations to come into effect from April 12:

  • All pupils can return to all education settings;
  • All shops and close contact services can reopen;
  • The interim all-Wales travel area can be lifted. 

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