Wales lockdown: When will restrictions be lifted?

12 March 2021, 12:27 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 13:59

Wales will begin its journey out of lockdown in the coming days and weeks
Wales will begin its journey out of lockdown in the coming days and weeks. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Welsh Government has brought forward plans to lift Covid-19 lockdown measures in the coming weeks - but when exactly will restrictions be lifted?

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that socialising and the economy can begin to reopen as the data on new coronavirus infections, hospitalisations and deaths in Wales "continue to go in the right direction".

The country will shift from away from 'stay at home' rules towards a 'stay local' message, encouraging people to be sensible and cautious as measures are gradually lifted.

Mr Drakeford on Friday set out exactly what restrictions will be lifted and when but warned that a "careful and cautious" approach would be needed to avoid another wave of infections.

But when will people be able to see their friends again? When do schools go back?

READ MORE: Record 4.6m NHS patients waiting to start hospital treatment

While 'stay local' will become the new guidance people will not be punished for travelling outside their area
While 'stay local' will become the new guidance people will not be punished for travelling outside their area. Picture: PA Images

When can friends and family meet at their homes again?

While meeting indoors is likely to remain a long-term goal, it has been confirmed that two households will be allowed to meet in their gardens from Saturday.

Mr Drakeford confirmed that people can move through somebody else's home to access the garden but they should stay there for the remainder of the visit.

He also said visitors could use their toilet but that people should not plan on doing so and try to plan ahead if possible.

Outdoor sports facilities including basketball courts, tennis courts, and golf courses can also reopen for friends - up to four people from two households - to meet up and exercise.

Care home visits for just one single visitor will also be allowed from Saturday.

When will schools return?

Mr Drakeford insisted on Friday that returning children and young people to face-to-face education is the "top priority" for the Welsh Government.

He told reporters that around 40% of pupils and students had returned but that a significant number of students will return on Monday when all primary school pupils and students taking exams in secondary schools will come back.

All students in Wales will be back in classrooms on April 12.

READ MORE: Wales lifts 'stay at home' order from Saturday

First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to announced easing of restrictions
First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to announced easing of restrictions. Picture: PA Images

When will shops reopen?

Hairdressers and barbers will be able to operate once again from Monday, the Welsh Government has announced.

Non-essential retail, including garden centres, will begin to reopen from March 22.

The Government aims to reopen all non-essential business from April 12 - the same target as in England.

Can I book a staycation?

The Government aims to lift its 'stay local' guidance from March 27 to allow staycations in self-contained accommodation in Wales.

Mr Drakeford warned the tourism industry against taking bookings from people who live outside the country - including the rest of the UK.

Hospitality will have to wait longer for set reopening dates, Mark Drakeford said
Hospitality will have to wait longer for set reopening dates, Mark Drakeford said. Picture: PA Images

What about hospitality?

Mr Drakeford warned that new variants make it impossible to currently set a date for reopening of pubs and restaurants.

"I understand that everybody wants a definitive date so they can plan ahead," he said.

"Unfortunately, there are very few guarantees in this pandemic. We know fro our very own experience and experience in Europe today just how quickly events can take a turn for the worse."

"A highly-infectious Kent variant is now the most dominant form of the virus in Wales, and that by itself makes it even harder to predict what will happen as we begin to relax restrictions."

The First Minister said ministers will review restrictions in April to see if they can continue reopening further.