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Valleys Breakfast

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Valleys Breakfast

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Changes to coronavirus regulations on 1 June

Written by on 29th May 2020

Further to Friday’s announcement by the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh Government have provided some guidance to help people understand the latest changes to the laws restricting people’s movements in Wales, the purpose of which is to minimise opportunities for coronavirus to transmit from one person to another. Please follow this guidance and exercise your judgement and consider your safety, and the safety of others, at all times.

We are no longer asking people in Wales to stay at home other than in exceptional circumstances. However, it remains important to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible, so some legal restrictions on individuals are still necessary.

From 1 June, as long as you stay local to your home and are outside, you will no longer be subject to the numerous restrictions that apply today. However, there are still restrictions on meeting people and gatherings even within your local area – in particular doing so indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.

This guidance gives advice on what is and is not allowed under the revised rules. It focusses in particular on:

  • what is meant by “local”,
  • the limited circumstances in which it is permitted to leave your local area, and
  • what restrictions remain in place within your local area.

However, it cannot provide the answer for every individual scenario, and you may wish to seek alternative sources of advice in complex situations.

What are the main changes to the rules in Wales on 1 June?

  • Allowing members of two separate households to meet outdoors at any one time as long as they stay local and maintain social distancing. There is a low risk of infection if the 2 metre physical distancing rule is maintained while outdoors. This does not need to be the same people from the same household every time.
  • The two households can meet in private outdoor spaces, such as gardens and on balconies, but this comes with a higher risk of infection as people may have to pass through someone’s private home to reach a garden. The Welsh Government has provided guidance about the precautions which can be taken to minimise these risks;
  • Allowing weddings and civil partnerships to take place if one of the two parties is terminally ill.

What does ‘local’ mean?

As a general rule, for most people anything within about five miles of your home is considered local. Most people in Wales live within five miles of shops and services that are essential for everyday purposes.

But we recognise that in rural areas these services may well be spread over a wider geographical area, and this means you can travel further to do the same sorts of things you could do within five miles elsewhere. 

So whilst five miles is a good rule of thumb for most people, if you live in a rural area, you will probably be used to defining your local area a little more widely.

Why do the rules say I must stay in my local area?

The key reason for having the rules in place is to stop the spread of the virus between people and communities in Wales. The purpose of people staying within their local area and not travelling long distances is to limit the potential spread of the virus between communities. As people can be infectious without showing symptoms, it is important that we minimise the risk that they could carry the virus beyond from their local area and cause a potential chain of infection in another area of Wales.

Are there any exceptions to the stay local rule?

You should not leave your local area to do anything that you could reasonably be expected to do locally.

However, there are certain activities which are considered to be important enough that if you cannot reasonably be expected to do them locally, you are allowed to leave your local area.

These are as follows:

  • to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, veterinary care and essential household maintenance
  • to visit health services that are not available locally
  • to provide care for or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult, though you should consider whether there are alternative sources of support available
  • to help the NHS by donating blood
  • to avoid injury or illness, or escape a risk of harm

Can a members of one household meet members of more than one other household outdoors as long as they are separate meetings?

Yes, but they must be separate meetings – so only two households at any one time, and social distancing and good hand hygiene must be maintained at all times.

How many people am I allowed to see at any one time?

As long as it is only two households who are meeting, there is no restriction on the number of people at any one time. Gathering with members of more than one other household, however, is still illegal.

Why do the rules say meetings can be outdoors but not indoors?

We are learning more about this virus every day and we know the risk of transmission is lower outdoors than indoors. That’s why, if they remain 2 metres apart, two households will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens or on balconies and outdoor walkways if you live in a flat. However, a lower risk doesn’t mean no risk. Even in these circumstances it is vital we all maintain social distancing so we can continue to tackle the spread of this virus.

Are picnics and barbecues with other households allowed?

Yes, as long as they are local you maintain social distancing and don’t share or use the same items as the other household, for example plates, cups and food packages.  Any item that is passed between two households will increase the risk of the spread of the virus.

Is social distancing still needed?

Yes, social distancing when meeting anyone not from your household is still essential to stop the spread of the virus.

Can I drive to see another household?

Yes, as long it is within your local area, you remain outdoors and you practice social distancing.

Why can’t I visit members of my family who live outside my local area?

You can leave your local area to provide care for or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult, though you should consider whether there are alternative sources of support available.

In considering whether there is a need to travel outside your local area, you should remember that there is a personal responsibility on all of us to recognise the risks that the virus presents to ourselves, our families and friends and our wider communities. People will need to make judgements for themselves as to what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle. Keep in mind that the purpose of the continuing restrictions is to prevent the transmission of the virus, including to those we care about.

Can I travel to parks, beaches, visitor attractions and beauty spots to meet another household?

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible, for example a local park. If other outdoor visitor areas are local to your home, then travel to them is allowed, while taking care to always maintain social distancing and hand hygiene, particular if using toilets and other facilities. Travelling to meet another household in parks, beaches and attractions outside your local area is not allowed. Many attractions and beauty spots (including car parks and public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

Can I travel to do sports outside my local area?

If your preferred form of exercise or leisure is one that can only be undertaken in specific locations, this still needs to be carried out locally. Examples of this might include golf, angling or watersports. If there is a place where you can do these within your local area, then you are free to do so, but it would not be permissible to drive outside your local area for these purposes.

However, we recognise there are certain forms of exercise which, though you start locally, may temporarily take you further afield.  For example, a strong cyclist may get their exercise through bike rides of 40 miles or more. Exercise as a form of “active” travel in this way (a long cycle ride, run or walk) is now allowed, as long as the exercise starts and finishes from home.

That said, it is important not to risk spreading the virus by breaking that exercise and stopping or congregating with others outside your local area. Crowded places should be avoided, and social distancing should be maintained. The rules on gathering with others also mean that while you can now exercise with people from one other household, group activities are still not allowed.

Do the Welsh rules apply to people coming to Wales from other parts of the UK?

Yes, the rules apply to everyone in Wales. People should not be travelling beyond their local area into Wales, or long journeys within Wales without a reasonable excuse as this risks spreading the virus.

Will I be fined by the police if I travel outside my local area without reasonable excuse?

Yes police can issue fines to people who do this.

How long will these rules be in place?

We are keeping these regulations under constant review and must formally review them every three weeks.

Can people from another household come into my home?

Meeting people socially indoors is not allowed under the rules, as it significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus. If two households are meeting in the private garden of one house, visitors can go through the house to reach the garden, but not stay in the house. You should not use the toilets, kitchen, cutlery or anything else in another household.  If you can, you should also avoid touching things indoors, such as light switches and door handles.

Can a person from another household use my toilet if they are meeting in my garden?

No – the more we go into other people’s homes and touch things, the more the risk of spreading the virus.

Should I use a face covering when I meet another household?

This is a matter of personal choice, but we are not advising the use of face coverings.

Why isn’t Wales doing what England is doing?

Decisions on the rules for preventing the spread of the virus in Wales are for the Welsh Government. These are made based on the scientific and medical advice given to Ministers in Wales, and respond to the particular circumstances of Wales.

When will shops re-open?

A range of shops can currently operate on a click and collect basis and food stores have remained open throughout the lockdown,

During the next steps of this process we plan to examine options in relation to the following matters at the next review on 18 June, these include:

  • Reopening managed outdoors sites (e.g. outdoor markets, sports courts, outdoor showrooms, and outdoor museums)
  • Reopening more of the housing market
  • Reopening non-essential retail to under physical distancing measures (e.g. high streets)
  • Increasing capacity for childcare and public transport to support a wider return to work.

Will Wales’ tourist spots and beauty spots now be re-opened?

As we have set out, we are keeping these regulations under constant review and will make changes when the latest scientific evidence and advice from the Chief Medical Officer allows.

When can I get married?

We understand this is a difficult time for all of those who had planned to marry this year and we have a constant review of the regulations and restrictions, but at this stage it is not safe for the vast majority of weddings to take place.

However, to address specific issues that have been raised about current restrictions, we will bring forward a minor amendment to the regulations to reduce clarify weddings and civil partnerships can take place where one partner is terminally ill.

When will campsites open?

As we have set out, we are keeping these regulations under constant review and will make changes when the latest scientific evidence and advice from the Chief Medical Officer allows.