What are the rules now the Wales firebreak lockdown is over?

The 17-day firebreak was intended to halt the spread of coronavirus and rising hospital admissions 

Sophie Gallagher
Wednesday 11 November 2020 07:50 GMT
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


In October, weeks ahead of England, Wales started a second nationwide lockdown in a bid to get ahead of raising numbers of coronavirus cases and hospital admissions in the country.

First minister Mark Drakeford told people that the aptly-named firebreak for three weeks and two weekends was a “short, sharp, shock” designed to slow down the virus.

It meant that all non-essential retailers had to close, and pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and gyms were told to bring down the shutters once more. People were also not allowed to mix households. 

Now, after 17 days of the firebreak - Wales has reached the promised end point of 9 November.  

On Monday, Drakeford told BBC Breakfast the impact would not be visible for some weeks but said they believed having implemented such strict measures when they did will mean no need for another lockdown before Christmas.  

Despite the end of the firebreak, it doesn’t mean the lifting of all restrictions for the Welsh people with Drakeford warning “we cannot go back to the way we were living our lives and throw away all that hard work”.  

So what are the rules people still need to follow in Wales?  

What rules are there on socialising?

Groups of up to four people (not including children under the age of 11) from different households can now meet in cafes, pubs and restaurants and other regulated hospitality. Face coverings must be worn when not seated.

Up to 15 people can take part in an “organised indoor activity” and up to 30 people can take part in an “organised activity” outside provided everyone adheres to social distancing, hand hygiene and over Covid-19 safety measures.

The government says examples of the organised activities might include sports and exercise activities, or support groups and other groups to support people’s health or wellbeing, such as breastfeeding classes or slimming groups.

Can I visit other people’s homes? 

In terms of visiting other people’s homes the rules are still much stricter - you can now form a bubble again with one other household and visit them. If you had a bubble before the firebreak it doesn’t have to be the same bubble this time round. 

You are not allowed to meet in other households that are not your bubble and if anyone in your bubble shows symptoms everyone should self-isolate. There are much higher penalties for house parties or gatherings in homes as this is where the government said “much of the spread” happened.  

“While some people might be able to keep their houses relatively safe for visitors, people inevitably behave differently at home,” it says.

People will still be allowed to make visits to another person's home in Wales if they are concerned about their mental well-being, Mr Drakeford said.  

What rules are there on shops?

Shops, gyms, hairdressers and places of worship can reopen.

Supermarkets can also go back to selling non-essential items, which were banned during the firebreak lockdown.  

What are the rules on travel?

There are no restrictions on movement within Wales now - although people should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible.

People will only be allowed to go to England for reasons such as work or another “reasonable excuse”.  

And international travel should be for essential reasons only so foreign holidays are still off the cards. 

What rules will continue?

The 10pm curfew on alcohol sales will continue.  

Two-metre social distancing and wearing face masks in enclosed public spaces, including on public transport and in private hire vehicles or taxis, should also carry on.  

People should also keep working from home wherever possible.  

All school groups will now be resuming education as well - during the firebreak primary school and year seven and eight went into the classroom, but others stayed at home.

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