Hairdressers, outdoor sports facilities, and non-essential retail will begin re-opening as the Welsh Government announces the easing of lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks.
Wales has been under alert level four restrictions since December 20. Those rules have required people to stay at home except for very limited purposes such as for work, buying essentials, or exercise. While going out for exercise has been allowed driving to do so has not been permitted.
The Welsh Government’s previous review on February 19 only saw minor changes to the rules including licensed wedding venues being allowed to re-open (only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies) while four people from two different households were allowed to meet outdoors to exercise and the youngest pupils were given the green light to return to the classroom from March 8.
Now First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that the ‘stay at home’ requirement will be lifted from Saturday and will instead be replaced with ‘stay local’.
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In the days and weeks to come there will be a number of changes across the country as hairdressers and barbers will re-open, four people from two households can meet outdoors socially, and all primary school pupils will return to school.
Here are the key dates you need to know as Wales begins to ease lockdown restrictions.
Saturday, March 13
- ‘Stay at home’ requirement lifted and replaced with ‘stay local’
- Four people from two households can meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens
- Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts, and basketball courts can re-open (see more here)
- Indoor care home visits will restart for single designated visitors
Monday, March 15
- Hairdressers and barbers will re-open for appointments
All primary school pupils and children in qualifications years in secondary schools (meaning exam years 11 and 13) will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring year 10 and 12 learners back and more learners will return to colleges. There will also be flexibility for in-school check-ins for all other pupils
Monday, March 22
- Non-essential retail will start re-opening gradually as restrictions are lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open
- Garden centres will be able to open
Saturday, March 27
- The ‘stay local’ message will go and people will be allowed to travel anywhere in Wales
- Self-contained holiday accommodation will be allowed to open in time for the Easter holidays
Friday, April 2
- Date of next three-week lockdown review announcement
Monday, April 12
- All learners will return to school after the Easter break
- All shops, including all close contact services, will be able to open
- The Welsh Government will consider opening outdoor hospitality areas and certain gyms
- More household mixing may be allowed.
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The First Minister will tell the public in his address from Cathays Park on Friday: “We are taking a phased approach to unlocking each sector – starting with schools. We will make step-by-step changes each week to gradually restore freedoms. We will monitor each change we make so we know what impact each change has had on Wales’ public health situation.”
We’ll have updates and reaction throughout the day on Friday as the announcements are officially made while we will also be interviewing the First Minister at 8.30am. You’ll be able to follow everything here after 6am.