The requirement for people to “stay at home” is to be lifted from tomorrow and replaced with “stay local”.
On Friday (March 12), First Minister Mark Drakeford set out the Welsh Government’s phased approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions.
From tomorrow, Saturday March 13, four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens.
In addition, outdoor sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can reopen, and indoor care home visits will restart, for single designated visitors.
From Monday, all primary pupils and those in qualifications years 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. All learners will return after the Easter break.
Responding to the First Minister’s announcements, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “It’s good news that four people from two households will now be able to meet outdoors, allowing us to see some friends or family again.
What is the Welsh NHS Confederation?
The Welsh NHS Confederation is a body made up of the seven health boards and three NHS trusts in Wales, as well as Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).
According to its website, the Welsh NHS Confederation “support[s] our members to improve health and wellbeing by working with them to deliver high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers’ money.
“We act as a driving force for positive change through strong representation and our policy, influencing and engagement work.”
“However, it’s essential that we all continue to be cautious so that we will be able to ease restrictions further and reduce the enormous pressure on staff working in health and care.”
He said it was “encouraging” to see coronavirus transmission rates and the number of people in hospital with the virus decreasing across Wales.
Mr Hughes added: “It’s important that we don’t waste these efforts and reverse the hard-won progress we’ve made, especially given the potential for new variants to alter the current trajectory.”
When will businesses open?
Hairdressers and barbers will reopen for appointments from Monday.
From Monday, March 22, non-essential retail will start reopening gradually, as restrictions on what can be sold in shops which are currently open are lifted. Garden centres will also be able to open.
All shops, including all close contact services, will be able to open from April 12 – the same date as in England.
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The First Minister said: “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.”
The First Minister also announced an additional £150m to support businesses affected by ongoing restrictions.
What have opposition parties said?
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price criticised the Welsh Government for not giving businesses “sufficient warning” to businesses allowed to reopen from March 15.
He also accused the Welsh Government of “giving false hope” to businesses not allowed to reopen.
Mr Price also called for a “Wales-wide consultation with the tourism sector” to determine whether or not it is “viable” to reopen to customers living in Wales only.
Meanwhile, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies also criticised Welsh Government, saying: “Labour have missed another opportunity to provide clarity and a detailed roadmap out of lockdown for people across Wales.”
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