Travel restrictions for Wales are lifted and families can reunite from today

6 July 2020, 06:02

The five-mile limit for travel in Wales ends today
The five-mile limit for travel in Wales ends today. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The "stay local" travel requirement for Wales lifts today, meaning people no longer have to remain within five miles of their home.

The First Minister of Wales urged visitors to the country to behave safely and respectfully as restrictions lift.

Holidaymakers will be able to travel into and around Wales for the first time since lockdown measures were introduced in March.

Outdoor attractions can also reopen, allowing the tourism sector to restart from July 11, if conditions allow.

People from two households will be able to form one extended household from Monday, enabling families to be reunited.

On Sunday, Public Health Wales said one person had died after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths there to 1,531.

The total number of positive tests increased in Wales by 15 to 15,890.

Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, said: "We live in such a beautiful part of the world and I know many of us are looking forward to visiting beaches, the countryside and our many beauty spots.

"People throughout Wales have done so much over the last few months to follow the rules and help reduce the spread of coronavirus - I thank them for their patience and understanding. I ask them to continue in this spirit.

"Unfortunately, over the recent weeks we've seen the results of people not treating parts of Wales with respect, with crowds leaving piles of litter in their wake.

"This selfish behaviour is a blight on our beauty spots and puts people at risk.

"While many footpaths and car parks are reopening, not all facilities will be available in every location straight away."

On March 23, lockdown restrictions were introduced and people were instructed to stay at home apart from limited reasons.

These measures were eased in Wales on June 1, when the "stay at home" message was replaced with "stay local".

This allowed people from two different households to meet outdoors, as long as they did not travel more than five miles and maintained social distancing.

From Monday, measures will be further eased to allow unrestricted travel in Wales - though holiday accommodation will remain closed.

Self-contained accommodation is preparing to reopen from July 11.

Mr Drakeford urged visitors to check websites where possible and plan ahead, including alternative arrangements if their destination is too busy when they arrive.

He added: "Coronavirus has not gone away and, while the evidence shows the risk outdoors is lower, there is still a risk. We therefore need to continue to act responsibly."

The Welsh Government has been working with local authorities, national parks, Natural Resources Wales and other landowners to ensure the country is ready to welcome visitors.

There is new guidance about public toilets, focusing on hygiene, social distancing, signage and queuing - with not all facilities able to reopen.

The countryside code has been revised in light of the pandemic, with visitors asked to obey social-distancing measures and plan ahead.

Tegryn Jones, chief executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, said: "We urge those who choose to explore our landscapes in the coming weeks and months, perhaps for the first time, to do so with respect - for the people and wildlife, which call it home, and for each other."

From Monday, people from two separate households will be able to join together to form one extended household.

They can only be part of one extended household and everyone in that extended household must belong to the two households.

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If one person in the extended household develops symptoms of coronavirus, everyone must self-isolate - not just those living together.

At the next review of Wales' coronavirus regulations, the Welsh Government will consider a range of options for reopening bars and restaurants outdoors from July 13 and self-contained holiday accommodation from July 11.

They will also decide whether hairdressing can restart by appointment only.

Darren Millar MS, Welsh Conservative shadow minister for Covid-19 recovery, welcomed the lifting of the five-mile restriction.

He said the limit had undermined people's mental health and personal relationships, as well as making the reopening of many businesses unviable.

"The scrapping of this cruel rule can't come too soon for those who will finally be able to see their loved ones for the first time in months, and for those who can finally reopen their businesses and get our economy moving again," he said.