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Wales starts move into Alert Level three

Welsh Government has announced the stay local rule will be lifted from tomorrow (Saturday) by an interim all-Wales travel area as part of a phased approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

It means that the nation will move out of Alert Level four and start the move into Alert Level three.

The Welsh Government said its planned, step-by-step approach to relaxing the coronavirus restrictions, took account of the highly-infectious Kent variant, which is now the dominant form of the virus in Wales.

It follows the successful return of primary pupils and many older secondary school and college students to face-to-face learning and the start of the phased re-opening of non-essential retail, including the opening of hairdressers and barbers.

As part of the Welsh Government announcement, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said that from Saturday 27 March the tourism sector in Wales would also be able to start re-opening.

Meanwhile six people from two different households will be able to meet-up and organised outdoor activities and sport for under 18s can resume.

In full, the changes include:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The current restrictions on international travel for holidays will remain in place and only those with a reasonable excuse, such as work, will be able to travel into or out of Wales. 

Mr Drakeford said: “These further relaxations are part of our careful and phased approach to unlocking the 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 interim all-Wales travel area will remain in place until April 12, subject to the public health situation.

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.”

Bridgend County Borough Council leader Huw David said: “It is fantastic to be at a point where we are now able to travel more widely and meet up with more family and friends, and start the return to normal.

“While we will soon be able to enjoy the relaxation of these restrictions, please continue to remember to keep to the rules for the safety of everyone.”

The next review of the regulations will take place next week. Welsh Ministers will consider the following relaxations, which will come into effect from April 12, subject to the public health situation:  

  • All pupils and students can return to schools, colleges and other education
  • All shops and close contact services can open
  • The interim all-Wales travel area can be lifted.

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