On the 19th October 2020, the Welsh Government announced a national coronavirus firebreak lockdown will be introduced across Wales from the 23rd October. This means that you must stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
During this time, these instructions must be followed by everyone within Wales:
- People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- people must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with
- certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops must close
- secondary schools will provide learning online only for the week after half-term, other than for children in years seven and eight. Primary schools and childcare settings will remain open.
- face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
You may leave home and visit someone on ‘compassionate grounds’ if the person in question is struggling with restrictions on meeting others and is suffering mentally or physically.
Adults living alone or single parents will be able to join with one other household for support.
More information on this can be found on the Welsh Government website.
Will shielding be reinstated?
Shielding for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable will not be necessary during this time period.
Reductions of risk to these individuals should be achieved through minimizing contact outside of households and shopping at quieter times of day.
Exercise and Outdoor Activity
You can leave home as often as you would like to exercise, providing that this is only with members from your own household and not others.
The Welsh Government states that “no journeys of any significant distance should be taken” to exercise, however they state that a person with a specific health or mobility issue is allowed to travel for practical reasons to exercise. For example, a person in a wheelchair may need to drive to a suitable location.
Outdoor gyms, local parks and playgrounds will remain open.
You must work from home if you are able to, however, those who are not able to work from home are allowed to work safely within their workplaces providing this remains open.
Jobs that include building repair, maintenance and work inside other people’s homes can take place, but only if it is urgent. This includes repairing a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety, such as emergency plumbing to ensure the household can remain in their home. Work should not take place unless it is urgent.
- Primary schools – will remain open other than during usual half-term holidays.
- Secondary schools- will re-open after half-term for children in years seven and eight. Pupils who are taking exams will be able to come in, however all other students will have to continue their learning from home.
- Colleges – will move to online-only provision for the week following half term. Students scheduled to take exams in the first week of November can attend college to do so.
- University – will continue to provide a combination of in person and virtual learning. This is due to Universities being Covid-secure campuses and are adhering to strict social distancing. Students should not travel back home, and should not travel between their term time address and home address unless absolutely necessary.
Children can continue to have access to their usual childcare provider, and you can travel to provide, access or receive childcare.
All childcare providers can remain open and offer normal services
However, children’s clubs are not allowed to remain open. The exception for this being childcare and play that runs over the school holidays.
Health and Social Care
When accessing local health services, it is important to phone beforehand, please follow any guidance from your local surgery or health service that is in place to protect both yourself and staff.
Local authorities in Wales are responsible for determining the approach to healthcare visits in areas where there are local restrictions. This includes visits to care homes. Please visit your local authority website for further details.
Support services can still be accessed – however support services should assess whether support can be delivered through phone or video in order to minimize risk to patients and staff.
Places of worship, marriages and civil partnerships, cemeteries and funerals
Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed to continue, providing that they are subject to the need to take all reasonable measures to minimize the risk of spreading the virus on the premises.
Guidance on both funerals and weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can be found on the Welsh Government website.
- Places of worship will not be open to the public other than for wedding or civil partnership ceremonies or funerals. Please see the guidance on funerals here for more information.
- The number that is allowed to attend a ceremony indoors will be limited by the capacity of the venue where it is being held.
- You cannot hold a wake following a funeral
Enforcement and Fines
Restrictions are enforced by local authority environmental health officers and the police.
These enforcement officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices or recommend prosecution in a magistrate’s court. They also have powers to disperse gatherings.
What will happen if I break these rules:
- You may be told to go home or removed from where you are and returned home;
- You could pay a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will rise to £120 for the second breach;
- Or you could have criminal proceedings brought against you, and if found guilty, you will have to pay a fine.
Further information about the national firebreak restrictions can be found here.