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Wales lifts 'stay at home' order from Saturday
12 March 2021, 00:01 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 15:49
The Welsh government will lift the "stay at home" requirement in Wales from Saturday and replace it with "stay local" in the country's first step to unlocking restrictions.
Ministers have said it is part of a "cautious, careful and phased approach" to relaxing restrictions.
First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce that from Saturday four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens.
Outdoor sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can also reopen.
In addition, indoor care home visits will restart for single designated visitors, Mr Drakeford will confirm.
And from Monday, all primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return, with schools given the flexibility to bring year 10 and 12 back, with a view to having all pupils back in school after the Easter break.
Also on Monday, hairdressers and barbers will re-open for appointments.
From 22 March, non-essential retail and will start re-opening gradually as the restrictions are lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open. Garden centres will also be able to open.
The First Minister will also announce an additional £150m to support businesses affected by ongoing restrictions.
All other shops, including all close contact services, will be able to open from 12 April.
The First Minister will say: “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.”
Wales currently has the lowest rate among the four nations, with 42.8 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to March 5, the lowest rate since the seven days to September 17.
But health minister Vaughan Gething said on Wednesday that Wales could not move into lower levels of restrictions in line with its previous Covid-19 control plan because the "position has changed and moved on" since the extra transmissibility of the Kent variant was identified.
"We need to take another step back to look at what that then means for measures we take and how quickly we ease out of lockdown," he said.
"We've got clear advice that taking a much more rapid approach would lead to a resurgence with real harm being caused."
An updated control plan would be published "to take account of the new reality of the Kent variant", Mr Gething said.