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Guidance on how you can keep safe and what rules are in place to protect people at alert level 4.

Part of:
First published:
18 December 2020
Last updated:

General

What restrictions are in place?

The current restrictions mean that:

  • people must stay local, except for very limited purposes
  • people must not enter other people’s homes, except for very limited purposes
  • many types of businesses are required to close
  • people should try and work from home if they can
  • people must limit the number of people that they meet socially and they can only do so outdoors
  • face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
  • people should maintain social distancing, including outdoors
  • people should wash their hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene
  • people must self-isolate when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.

What happens if I don’t follow this guidance?

Most of what is set out in this guidance reflects requirements in the Regulations, which is the law and so may be enforced by the police or local authority enforcement officers. However, even when things are permitted, we ask you to think carefully about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking about what the law allows you to do.

Where you breach the law, you may be told to go home or removed from where you are and returned home. You could be asked to pay a fixed penalty notice of £60. This will rise to £120 for the second breach and continue to increase for further breaches. For more serious offences, penalties start at £500. Or you could have criminal proceedings brought against you, and if found guilty, you will have to pay a fine.

How long will these measures stay in place?

The national measures are kept under constant review.

Staying local

What does ‘local’ mean?

The Regulations require people to stay within an area local to where they live. The regulations do not specify a particular distance as this will vary depending on where a person lives. It will also vary depending on how close things are.

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 and will be able to visit areas that will benefit their health and wellbeing.

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 their local area and cause a potential chain of infection in another area of Wales.  Should outbreaks occur, the stay local rule will mean that our Test, Trace, Protect investigations can be focused and quickly identify hotspots which can receive surge testing to minimise further spread.

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 and there are no alternatives, you are allowed to leave your local area.

These include:

  • to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance
  • to access childcare and education
  • to access medical services
  • to access public services
  • to provide or access emergency assistance
  • to visit someone in a care home, with the permission of the person responsible for the care home
  • to deposit and withdraw money from a bank or similar establishment
  • to provide care for or to help a vulnerable person; this includes getting food or medicines for them
  • to help the NHS by donating blood
  • for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes
  • to visit a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects
  • to attend a place of worship
  • to attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony (or alternative ceremony such as a humanist wedding) if invited
  • to attend a funeral if invited
  • to attend court or meet other legal obligations, or to vote
  • to escape a risk of illness or injury, such as for victims or people at risk of domestic abuse
  • to access services provided to victims of crime or domestic abuse or those at imminent risk of becoming victims
  • to move home and associated activities

You should try to minimise time spent outside of your local area, and ensure you stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with or are in a permitted support bubble with.

Seeing other people at home

Can people from another household come in to my home?

Generally, people from another household must not come in to your home except for in limited circumstances (see below information on support bubbles, as well as certain reasonable excuses including compassionate grounds, providing care and working in people’s homes).

Meeting people from another household socially indoors is not allowed under the rules, unless the household is part of your support bubble. This is because it significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus.

Up to four people from two households (not including children under 11 from either household) who live locally are permitted to meet outdoors, including in private gardens and private outdoor spaces. Where this is the case, visitors can go through the house to reach the garden or outdoor space, but must not stay in the house. You should not use kitchen equipment, cutlery or anything else in another household.  If you can, you should also avoid touching things indoors, such as light switches and door handles.

There is also an additional penalty for taking part in house parties and a higher penalty for organising such parties.

Please see guidance on seeing other people in private homes for further details..

Can I form an extended household?

No, while the current restrictions are in place, you cannot form an extended household. There are exceptions to this where some households can form a support bubble with one other household.

Can I form a support bubble?

The following households can form a support bubble:

  • Households with an adult living alone
  • Households with a single responsible adult
  • Households with one or more children under the age of 1 year old
  • You are 16 or 17 living alone or with others of the same age, with no adult

For more information on support bubbles and what is meant by a single responsible adult, please see our guidance on seeing people in private homes.

I am eligible to form a support bubble, does it have to be with a household in my local area?

There are no rules saying your support bubble has to be with someone in your local area, or within any set distance of your home. There are also no rules preventing support bubbles being formed with households outside Wales, and we recognise these may be the right answer for people living close to a border, although if you form a support bubble with someone outside Wales you should be aware of the rules in place in that other country. 

We recommend that support bubbles are formed locally wherever possible. In particular, we ask that people think very carefully about possible alternatives before forming support bubbles which would require extensive travel or travel into areas outside Wales where there may be a higher risk of becoming infected with coronavirus.

Can I change my support bubble?

The purpose of support bubbles is to help people who might be lonely or who might be particularly struggling with the impact of the lockdown. We recommend people avoid changing support bubbles unless absolutely necessary, in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus between households.

However, we recognise that people’s relationships and circumstances may change over time. Those eligible can form a new support bubble provided that:

  • both households end their current support bubbles
  • both households refrain from mixing with any other household (including your new support bubble) for a period of 10 days before forming the new support bubble.

If someone in your previous support bubble develops symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus up to 48 hours after members of the bubble last met, all members of the bubble must self-isolate. You must not form a new bubble until you have completed your self-isolation.

For more information on what is meant by a single responsible adult, please see our guidance on seeing people in private homes.

Are the rules different if I live in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or supported living?

No. If you are eligible to form a support bubble and live within a shared building (a House in Multiple Occupation or HMO) the same rules apply; you can be in a support bubble with one other household from outside of your shared home. Please see the guidance on supported living for more information.

If you share facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens you should be aware of the increased risks and take appropriate precautions to minimise that risk – see Public Health Wales guidance for further information.

What if I do not have a home, or I am in unsuitable accommodation?

Your local authority should help find you suitable emergency accommodation and support if you do not have a home or are in unsuitable accommodation, they have funding to support this.

If you are in need of support then you should contact the housing options team in your local area, their contact details will be located on your local authority’s website.

The Welsh Government also funds Shelter Cymru to provide independent housing advice and support. Further information, advice and support can be found on the Shelter Cymru website.

My child does not live with me but there are regular arrangements in place so we can continue to have contact with each other – can these arrangements continue?

Yes – for children who do not live in the same household as their parents and have existing arrangements in place to visit and safely have contact, these arrangements can continue. This could include children in foster care, children’s homes and adoptive placements.

Meeting people outside the home

Can I meet up with people from another household outdoors?

Up to four people from no more than two households (excluding any carers or children under 11 from either of those households) can meet outdoors at any one time.

However, we ask you to

  • stay local. This means that you should not be travelling beyond your local area to meet with people.
  • please try and reduce the number of different people you see. It is better to see the same people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally
  • please maintain social distancing and hand hygiene

You must not meet up with people from outside your support bubble, if you have one, indoors.

Please see guidance on leaving your home and seeing other people for more information.

Are the rules on who I can meet different indoors and outdoors?

Yes, you can only meet members of your support bubble indoors. However, you are permitted to meet with up to four people from two households (not including children under 11 from either household) outdoors, including in private gardens.

Do I always have to meet the same people or can I vary who I meet?

You can vary the people you meet as long as the maximum number of people meeting at one time, that do not live together, is four from a maximum of two households (not including any carers or children under 11 from either household). We ask you to try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally.

If you want to see different people, we recommend that you leave time in between meeting different groups of people to ensure that you have not developed symptoms of coronavirus from the first group of people you met.

We are asking people to think about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking primarily about what you are allowed to do.

Only through everybody trying their hardest to follow this guidance will we be able to avoid further lockdowns.

What are the rules for meeting members of my support bubble outdoors?

If you are meeting with members of your household or support bubble outdoors, the maximum number of four does not apply. In these circumstances, the entire bubble could meet up together outdoors even if the number of people in the group exceeds four.

If you are meeting members of your support bubble outdoors, you must not meet any other household at the same time.

Can I meet people I don’t live with in my garden?

Up to four people from two households (not including children under 11) are permitted to meet in private gardens. Visitors can go through the house to reach the garden, but must not stay in the house. You should not use kitchen equipment, 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 I drive to see another household?

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

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

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.

Can an unlimited number of children aged under 11 meet outdoors?

Outside of the home, the number of children aged under 11 who can gather is not limited in law. However, no more than two households can meet at any one time.

Young children are not included in the number because studies have found that young children are less likely to transmit the virus, whether to other children or to adults, and the virus appears to take a milder course in children than in adults for most cases. This has also been done so as not to prevent parents with larger numbers of children from meeting with other adults.

However, as young children can still transmit the virus, parents of young children should still exercise their good judgement, and take care especially to encourage their children to follow hand hygiene measures and keep close contact to a minimum wherever possible. Even with children it is safer to meet in smaller numbers, and to meet the same people regularly rather than a range of different people. We also advise that children aged under 11 avoid mixing with children from more than one household at any one time

Children aged 11 or over are covered by rules in the same way as adults.

Please see guidance on leaving your home and seeing other people for more information.

Vaccination and testing

When will I receive the vaccine?

Health boards in Wales started administering vaccines on 8 December. NHS Wales will vaccinate people in order of clinical risk. When you are eligible for the vaccine, you will be invited to a dedicated clinic.

For more information, please see the coronavirus vaccination programme page.

Can I meet up with a group of people if one or all of us have had the coronavirus vaccine or have recently had a negative test for coronavirus?

No – the rules are the same for people who have had the vaccine or have received a negative test as for everyone else. You must not meet indoors with anyone you do not live except in limited circumstances. A maximum of four people (not including carers of children under age 11) from two households can meet locally outdoors. 

Can I meet up with someone if I’ve just been tested and I didn’t have coronavirus?

No – the rules are the same for you as for everyone else. Even if you do not currently have coronavirus, you are at risk of catching it from other people and then passing it on to others.

Childcare, care and support

Are childcare and play services allowed to operate?

Yes childcare services will still be open, including day care, child minding, sessional, crèche; out of school/holiday provision, staffed playwork provision and Flying Start provision, as long as it is legal for the premises from which they operate to be open. Nannies can also continue to provide childcare. 

The current Regulations only allow for gatherings in very limited circumstances. This includes providing, receiving or accessing care or assistance including childcare, however there is no allowance for other organised group gatherings including attendance at wider children’s activities  or other social groups. Depending on the primary nature of the activity, it is possible that organisations whose primary purpose is not childcare may find they are not able to operate as ‘holiday activity clubs’ under the current circumstances. 

There is guidance to help childcare settings ensure that their services are safe. This is not expected to change immediately, although we will be keeping it under review. Guidance for operating open access play settings remains in place and will not change.

I share parental responsibility for a child with someone I don’t live with – can I still see them?

Where parental responsibility is shared, existing arrangements can continue and the child can move between both parents, and therefore between both parents’ households (and support bubbles where relevant).

Can family or friends provide informal childcare?

Yes, but this form of childcare should only be used when no other methods are available. Children should not be cared for outside of their home if they are ill, or by anyone who is ill. Adults dropping off children for childcare should not enter someone else’s home.

I have caring responsibilities for somebody I do not live with – can I visit them?

You are allowed to provide care for or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult, even if they are not part of your household or support bubble. You can also visit someone on compassionate grounds if necessary.

When considering whether there is a need to visit someone outside your household or support bubble, especially indoors, you should remember we all have a responsibility to recognise the risks the virus presents to ourselves, our families and friends and our wider communities.

People need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle. Keep in mind that the purpose of the restrictions is to prevent the spreading of the virus, including to those we care about.

Can I leave my local area to visit a loved one living in a care home?

Routine indoor care home visits are permitted for a single designated visitor. It is a reasonable excuse to leave the local area for these purposes.

Indoor visits are also permitted for non-designated visitors in exceptional circumstances, including, but not restricted to, end of life.

Outdoor visits and visits within visitor pods or similar enclosed spaces can continue to take place.

All visitors should be tested prior to an indoor visit or visit within a visiting pod or similar enclosed space, and rapid testing has been made available to care homes to facilitate this.

The ultimate decision on whether, and in what circumstances care home visits take place rests with the individual provider.  In each case, the provider needs to put in place appropriate risk assessments, social distancing and safety measures before allowing visits, and you should contact them before travelling and gain their permission to visit.

Visits will be temporarily suspended in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at the home.

For more information, please see the care home guidance.

What do you mean by compassionate grounds?

You may have compassionate reasons for visiting someone in exceptional circumstances where that person may be suffering from a physical or mental illness, have suffered a bereavement, is isolated, or you may be concerned about their general wellbeing or welfare.

Visits to places such as supported accommodation, children’s homes or hospitals are permitted in exceptional circumstances, where they are allowed by the relevant setting. In each case, the service provider needs to put in place appropriate social distancing and safety measures before allowing visits, and you should contact them before travelling.

How do I safely drop off essential goods?

When dropping off essential goods, you should:

  • minimise all contact with other people
  • wash your hands before handling any goods or use hand sanitiser if access to soap and water is not possible.
  • leave any goods in a pre-arranged place, such as a porch or doorstep
  • step away at least two metres.
  • consider wearing a face covering

You should not go in to a person’s home unless absolutely necessary. If this is necessary, additional mitigating actions should be put in place. For example, all doors should be opened to minimise touching surfaces and a face covering should be worn.

You must not drop off essential goods if you are self-isolating.

I am a parent of a young child, am I able to form a support bubble?

At alert level 4, we have had to suspend the ability to form extended households and only parents of children under the age of one, single parents or single households are able to form support bubbles with another household.

However, even for those who are not part of a support bubble, our rules allow parents to access support from their families (or close friends), if they need it and there is no reasonable alternative.

To help parents with young children, our rules allow for informal childcare arrangements with friends or family to continue. The rules also allow meetings with friends or family if extra support and help are needed, but only if there are no other reasonable methods by which the support and help can be provided.

Even though this extra support is permitted, we cannot over-state the seriousness of the situation regarding the spread of coronavirus fuelled by the new variant, and would ask that everyone thinks carefully about the most sensible thing to do to protect their family, friends and community, rather than just thinking about what the law allows them to do. If you do require extra help or support from family or friends, you should minimise the number of people you engage with for support, and the number of meetings, as much as possible.

Please visit the parenting help and support pages for information on sources of advice and support for parents.

I am a disabled person, or a parent of a disabled person with care responsibility, can I access help and support during level 4?

Our rules allow for disabled people to access support or care if required. This can be formal support through carers or informal support from families or close friends.

Even though providing extra support may be permitted, we cannot over-state the seriousness of the situation regarding the spread of coronavirus fuelled by the new variants, and would ask that everyone thinks carefully about the most sensible thing to do to protect their family, friends and community, rather than just thinking about what the law allows them to do. If you do require extra help or support from family or friends, you should minimise the number of people you engage with for support, and the number of meetings, as much as possible, particularly if you are, or the person you are providing support to is, clinically extremely vulnerable.

Self-isolation

What is a duty to self-isolate?

People who have tested positive or have come in to close contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus will be required by law to self-isolate for 10 days when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect. This notification will come through a phone call, text message or email. Failure to do so can lead to you being issued a fixed penalty notice or criminal prosecution.

We also strongly advise you to self-isolate if you are notified through the NHS Covid-19 app that you should do so. However, there is no legal duty to do so because the privacy and anonymity protections on the app mean that it does not collect any personal details.

We also strongly advise you that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should follow the general self-isolation guidance and should arrange to have a test (although again this is not covered by the legal duty).

What exactly does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation is where you stay home and limit all unnecessary contact with others outside of your household. This includes not going to work outside your home. This is to ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 prevent passing it on to their friends, family and wider community, including their work colleagues.

I have tested positive for coronavirus. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you test positive for coronavirus and you know when your symptoms started, you need to self-isolate until at least 10 days have passed from the day you reported you symptoms.

But if you test positive for coronavirus and you cannot tell contact tracers when your symptoms started, or you have not had symptoms, then you must self-isolate until 10 days has elapsed since your test. Read the full Self-isolation guidance.

I haven’t tested positive for coronavirus, but I have been told by contact tracers to self-isolate. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

You will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

If you do not live with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, the 10 days starts from when you last had close contact with them. Contact tracers should advise you of what is required.

If you do live with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, the 10 days starts on the day they reported their symptoms. Or, if they have not displayed any symptoms, the 10 days starts from the time of their test.

When a contact tracer calls you, they will also advise you to book a PCR test as soon as possible, and again on day 8. Testing of asymptomatic contacts provides further opportunities to identify more index cases and their close contacts that would otherwise be unknown to TTP, helping to further break chains of transmission.

Taking a test is not an alternative to self-isolating. If the tests are negative, you will still need to self-isolate for the full 10 day period because it can take up to 10 days or more for symptoms to develop, or for the virus to appear in your system.

If any of the test results (immediate test or day 8 test) come back positive, you will start a new 10 day period of self-isolation from the day you took your test.

I have been told to self-isolate – are there any situations in which I can still leave home?

There are a few exceptional circumstances where you are able to leave self-isolation:

  • to seek medical assistance, where this is urgent or you are advised to do so by a medical professional
  • where you are at serious risk of harm, such as to avoid domestic abuse or sexual violence
  • to meet a legal obligation or participate in court proceedings, if this cannot be done remotely from home
  • for compassionate reasons, such as attending the funeral of a family member or close friend
  • to shop for basic necessities, but only if nobody else can do this for you and you cannot get them delivered
  • to move house, if you have to because it is no longer possible for you to stay where you are living
  • to access veterinary services, if nobody else can transport the animal to and from those services

However, although you are allowed to leave home for these purposes, you should think carefully about whether you have an alternative to doing so.

If you have to leave home and have no alternative, in all of the above cases, you must stay away from home for the shortest possible time, and you should take every possible precautionary measure to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. This includes maintaining the greatest possible distance from other people, avoiding public transport, and wearing a face covering.

These exceptions do not apply to people required to self-isolate when arriving in Wales from a country under additional measures. In these instances you must follow the advice outlined in the self-isolation guidance for travel in to Wales.

What support is available to people who have to self-isolate?

People on low incomes can apply to receive a £500 payment if they have tested positive for coronavirus or they are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The payment is available to people on a low income who are unable to work from home and would lose income as a result of self-isolating. To be eligible, people must be self-isolating and in receipt of Universal Credit or another specified benefit.

The Self-Isolation Payment scheme is now live. People are able to apply for the payments via their local authority website and they will be backdated to 23 October. Please see the self-isolation support scheme page to find out more.

People who are self-isolating may also be able to access help from voluntary organisations in their area if they do not have any friends or family who can help them with getting food and other essentials.

My child has been told to self-isolate. Are they under a duty to self isolate?

Children aged 16 and 17 are generally notified directly by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect. In those circumstances the child is treated as an adult and must isolate according to the same rules.

In the case of younger children it will be the parent, guardian or other responsible adult who will be notified about a child’s requirement to isolate. In those cases the parent, guardian or responsible adult is required to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the child complies with the requirement to isolate. In the rare circumstances where a parent, guardian or responsible adult is notified about a child aged 16 or 17, this requirement to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the child self-isolates will apply.

Where a child is required to self-isolate as a known contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the household setting, only the child (not the whole household) is required to complete a period of self-isolation.

Does my employer have to let me self-isolate?

Yes. Employers should enable any employee who is required to self-isolate to do so. The Self-isolation guidance provides information on the evidence that can be provided to your employer confirming the requirement for you to self-isolate.

Can I still work from home when isolating?

If you are able to work from home, then we encourage people to continue to do so wherever possible, if they are well enough. Your employer should support you to work from home as much as possible while isolating. If you cannot work from home, then you may be eligible for a self-isolation payment or for statutory sick pay due to COVID-19 (on GOV.UK).

I have had the coronavirus vaccine – do I still need to self-isolate?

Yes – the rules are the same for people who have had the vaccine as for everyone else.

Do I still need to self-isolate if I’ve been tested and I didn’t have coronavirus?

Yes – if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect then you must do so for the full 10 days. If you catch coronavirus from someone, it can take time for you to develop the virus – that is why self-isolation is important.

Do I still need to self-isolate if I’ve previously had coronavirus?

Yes – the rules are the same for people who have previously had coronavirus as for everyone else. You might have some immunity to coronavirus, but it's not clear how long that immunity will last. You may therefore still be carrying the virus and at risk of passing it on to others.

Although rare, there are cases of reinfection from COVID-19.  In general, reinfection means a person was infected once, recovered, and then later became infected again.

Work

What are the rules about working from home?

We strongly encourage people to work from home where possible. However, people who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces, can do so, provided their workplace is permitted to open.

Our guidance to employers is that employees should not be required or placed under pressure to return to a workplace setting if there is not a clearly demonstrated business need for them to do so. Employers who are considering requiring their staff to return to workplace settings should first assess whether alternative arrangements could meet the majority of the employer’s needs. This should be discussed with staff or representatives of staff.

What can I do if I am worried about the safety measures in my workplace?

The coronavirus restrictions impose obligations on people responsible for premises where work takes place to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. The Welsh Government expects that businesses and others understand the severity of the situation we are facing as a society and will take the reasonable steps necessary.

If you have concerns that your health and safety is being compromised at work, you should discuss this with your employer in the first instance. If you are unable to find a resolution, you should contact your trade union or seek advice from Acas.

If you were previously shielding or are worried about being a higher risk of more serious symptoms, you can complete the COVID-19 workforce risk assessment. You should discuss the results with your employer who may take appropriate action. You should also speak to your trade union representative if you are a member of a union.

Can I carry out work in someone’s home?

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople undertaking building, repair or maintenance work, can continue as long as it is managed in a safe way and both the worker and household members are well and have no symptoms of coronavirus. Physical distancing  will need to be observed whenever you can. However, we recommend that people consider whether the work can be safely deferred until after alert level 4 restrictions are lifted. In addition, if there is a reasonably practicable alternative to having people enter you home to carry out work, then that alternative must be followed.

Like other businesses, people working in someone else’s home must take all reasonable measures to ensure they mitigate the risk of coronavirus spreading when working in other people’s households. Please see the guidance on reasonable measures and on working in other people’s homes for more information.

It is also recommended that no work should be carried out in any household where someone is isolating, unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety – for example, emergency plumbing, or carry out an adaptation to allow that household to remain in their property. If attendance is unavoidable (because of an urgent or emergency situation), additional precautions should be taken to keep workers and householders completely separate from each other. In these cases, Public Health Wales can provide advice to tradespeople and households. But no work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Does my business have to close under the new restrictions?

We have published a full list of businesses that are required to close.

Minimising any contribution to the spread of the virus is important, which is why certain businesses are required to close.

Can businesses operate a delivery service, even if they are required to close?

Yes. Businesses can provide an online or telephone delivery service, even if they are required to close.

Can businesses operate click and collect services, even if they are required to close?

All shops and other types of businesses required to close can offer “click and collect” or similar services (such as drop-off services). To reduce the number of journeys people make, all goods and services should be ordered in advance online, by telephone or mail order. A person should not travel outside their locality to collect goods under such services unless it is reasonably necessary, such as essential supplies required for the upkeep of their household, not available in the locality, and where there is no reasonably practicable alternative.

All reasonable measures must be put in place to ensure a 2 metre distance is maintained between people on the premises, as well as people waiting to enter the premises. Please see the guidance on reasonable measures for more information.

I run a business that is required to close. Is there any support available?

A further £150 million has been made available to support Welsh businesses in dealing with the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The additional support will help businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates and will operate as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund. This will see an eligible business with a rateable value of under £12,000 receive an extra £4,000 grant payment.

Firms with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000. The funding, which will help businesses with their costs up to 31 March, will be available to firms regardless of the number of employees and ensures micro businesses benefit from the support.

Local authorities, who have been crucial throughout the pandemic in getting money to businesses quickly, will again be administering and distributing these payments.

Businesses that pay non-domestic rates and have already received a payment since the firebreak in October do not need to take action. However, businesses that have not registered with their local authority, should take action now to ensure they receive the financial support they are entitled to.

This in addition to the 2 rounds of ERF - Sector Specific Fund which supported Tourism, Hospitality, Leisure and supply chain businesses since the restrictions that came into force on the 4 December 2020.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than £1.9bn of Welsh Government support has reached businesses throughout Wales. This has been vital in protecting firms through this incredibly difficult time and safeguarding 160,000 jobs.

More information about the funding and how it can be accessed is available on the Business Wales website.

Please see our pages on financial support for businesses for more information.

I work in a business that will be forced to close down/impacted by these regulations.  Is financial support being made available to support my job?

Yes, eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 should have access to the support available from the UK Government through the existing Job Retention Scheme (on GOV.UK) which will continue until the end of September 2021.

Is there any support available for people experiencing a reduction in income, for example, those on zero hour contracts?

There are a range of financial support options available if you are getting less work or no work because of COVID-19. You may be able to access support through the Discretionary Assistance Fund and apply for Universal Credit.

What support is available for self-employed people and freelancers?

Self-employed people may be eligible to claim financial support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (on GOV.UK).

Freelancers working in cultural and creative sectors are able to apply for the Cultural Recovery Fund

Coronavirus support for businesses can also be found on the Business Wales website.

My employer has had Welsh Government funding but is now making redundancies, what should I do?

Any employer in receipt of Welsh Government funding will need to continue to meet the conditions that are attached to that funding. The conditions attached to funding will vary and do not necessarily prevent an employer from making redundancies.  If you are at risk of redundancy you should speak to your trade union, or seek further advice from Acas on your rights during redundancy.  

I live in England but work in Wales, can I still travel?

Anyone who is in Wales, whether resident or travelling here, is bound by these rules. However, travelling to a workplace in Wales is a reasonable excuse to leave home. Similarly, people living in Wales can travel to England for work purposes where this is necessary and they cannot work from home.

This is subject to any rules that may apply in England. Please see the UK Government’s guidance on restrictions in England for further information.

Can I deliver housing-related support in emergency accommodation, supported accommodation or in someone’s home?

Homelessness, housing and support services can be delivered face-to-face but support providers should ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spreading. Service providers should also consider whether the support can be delivered by telephone or video calls.

Can I do voluntary work?

Yes, although you should do so from home or locally if reasonably practicable. If you are looking for more local volunteering opportunities you can contact your local County Voluntary Council (CVC).

You can also go out to provide care or help to a vulnerable person, including emergency help. This includes getting food and medicines for them. But it is important you do not put yourself or the person you are caring for at risk.

Education

Will schools remain open at alert level 4?

The decision whether or not to open primary and secondary schools for in person learning is kept under review in line with the latest public health and scientific evidence and information. The Welsh Government will continue to work with local authorities and schools to plan their approach.

All remaining primary school pupils and pupils in exam years (years 11 and 13), along with increased numbers of college students, are able to go back to learning onsite. Schools are also being offered flexibility for learners in years 10 and 12 to attend. Pupils in school years 7, 8 and 9 may be offered a check-in focussed on support for wellbeing and readiness for a return to school after Easter.

For the latest information on how schools are operating, please see our schools guidance.

Are face coverings required in education and childcare settings?

If social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn anywhere on the school estate, including in the classroom by staff at primary and secondary schools and secondary school learners. The exception is at mealtimes and when they are outside, unless the school risk assessment indicates that additional measures are needed, for example, on a school yard where there are a large number of learners in a relatively small space without separation of contact groups (such as when waiting to enter school).

Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above on school transport.

Visitors to the school or setting should use a face covering, including parents when dropping off and picking up learners.

For more information, please see the schools guidance.

For colleges, face coverings should be worn by staff and learners in all areas where it is difficult to maintain social distancing. This includes when moving around the premises, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. This should form part of a provider’s risk assessment. 

Face coverings should also be worn on dedicated transport.

For more information, please refer to the college guidance

How can schools manage pupils that are required to self-isolate?

There are measures detailed within the keeping learners safe in education guidance that schools should take to minimise the numbers of potential contacts and to stop transmission – these include social distancing, reducing unnecessary mixing, and hand and respiratory hygiene measures.

Schools working closely with NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect contact tracers will work through the contact tracing process to identify only those pupils that have been in close contact with a positive case and, therefore, should be required to self-isolate. Additional guidance is available for schools on contact tracing.

Where a pupil is required to self-isolate they should be provided with sufficient and appropriate work to ensure they continue their learning. Schools should keep in contact with pupils including with individual check ins as appropriate.

I am a key worker – what happens if my child’s school has to close temporarily?

Schools which close their premises for more than two days for reasons related to coronavirus are required to make available on-site education provision for critical workers’ children from the third day of closure and onwards.

However, where a school has an INSET day then the school is ‘closed’ to learners. Therefore, these days do not count as a school being open for learners – either remotely or face-to-face.

My child has additional learning needs – is there support for them if their school has to close temporarily?

Schools who close their premises for more than two days for reasons related to coronavirus are required to make available on site education provision for vulnerable children from the third day of closure and onwards. 

However, where a school has an INSET day then the school is ‘closed’ to learners. Therefore, these days do not count as a school being open for learners – either remotely or face-to-face.

I live in Wales but travel daily to England to attend school, college or university. Can I still go there?

Yes. If you attend school, college or university in England, it is a reasonable excuse to travel there if you are unable to access your education online for this period.

This also applies to staff who travel to England to teach at schools, colleges or universities there and who are not able to work from home. However, you need to be mindful of any restrictions in place in the area you are travelling to in England.

Can I travel back to university in Wales?

Travel for educational purposes is a reasonable excuse to travel outside of your local areas. This includes moving to a term time address and commuting for students and staff.

You would have a reasonable excuse to travel from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland to Wales and vice versa if you are travelling to access education.

However, students should not return to universities in Wales until they are notified by their university that they should do so and in-person learning will resume.

Current restrictions would also allow international students to travel to the UK for educational purposes, although you would need to follow the appropriate quarantine rules when you arrive. Please contact your university before you arrive.

What are the rules on teaching at universities?

Universities can continue to provide a combination of in person teaching and blended learning.

Universities in Wales are open for essential on campus activity as many students and staff need access to a laboratory, specialist academic library, appropriate study spaces or studios which means they need to leave home as they cannot complete that work from home. Universities are managing these activities using appropriate measures such as click and collect or bookable study slots to minimise numbers on site and to support NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.

Universities have been operating in-person education throughout the pandemic. For many students, this has meant online learning this term. However, some students will have been receiving essential in-person education this term. This is because some courses have practical elements, professional body requirements or require access to specialist equipment or facilities to enable students to complete the relevant qualification requirements for this year.

Please see the higher education guidance for more information.

Are university students who are living in their term time accommodation able to go home?

We are asking all students living in Wales, and all our Welsh students living outside Wales, to help us keep Wales safe by not travelling frequently between university and home.

You should only move between your term time address and your home address if absolutely necessary, (the primary reason for students to be able to travel is generally in order to access educational services in case of travel back to a term address). Other reasons may include travel for work, to provide or receive care or because of concerns about your wellbeing.

You should not return home if it is outside your local area for a ‘visit’ at this time.

You should not travel home if you have been asked to self-isolate or have Covid-19 symptoms.

What are the rules for colleges?

From 15 March, there will be an expansion of the groups of learners who can attend colleges and training centres, to include those who would most benefit from attending before Easter because of qualification and assessment requirements. This builds on the return of those studying “licence to practice” qualifications in priority sectors from 22 February. Learning providers can continue to make case-by-case decisions on who should attend in the “vulnerable” category, for example if there are significant wellbeing or safeguarding concerns about an individual.

For the latest information on how colleges are operating, please see our college guidance.

Are activities and clubs for children allowed to run?

No (unless they are provided online). Mixing between households is very limited in current circumstances and does not allow for gatherings of this nature. This includes activities such as Scouts groups, parent and toddler groups and dance classes. Depending on the primary nature of the activity, it is possible that organisations whose primary purpose is not childcare may find that they are not able to operate as ‘holiday activity clubs’ under the current circumstances.

Clubs used as childcare, such as holiday or wrap-around childcare, can continue.

Please see the childcare and play guidance for further information.

Are libraries allowed to open?

Libraries are closed; however, they may provide click and collect and home delivery services. Hospital libraries and libraries at education establishments can remain open.

Health and social care

Can I still access health services?

NHS Wales is still here to help you if you need care, and it’s important you continue to attend appointments and seek help for urgent medical issues. You can leave your home to access local health services, including your GP surgery, dentist, optometrist or other health service (including mental health services). If your appointment changes, your health board or health professional will contact you. Advice on services that are still operating is available on your health board or trust website.

You are advised to follow any guidance your local surgery, dentist, optometrist or health service has put in place to protect you and staff, including the need to keep 2m away from other patients whilst waiting to be seen and wearing of face coverings (unless exempt).

If you have symptoms of coronavirus do not visit your GP, hospital, pharmacy, optometrist or dentist. You should immediately self-isolate and arrange a coronavirus test. For more information please use the NHS Wales symptom checker.

Can I visit someone in hospital?

You are advised to check the health board or trust website for local information prior to visiting.

Our first priority is the prevention and control of infection in our healthcare settings. This is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of patients, staff and visitors.

The Hospital Visiting Guidance during Coronavirus sets out the baseline for Health Boards, Trusts and providers of hospice care to follow for visiting in Wales during the pandemic. Providers of health care have flexibility to depart from the Guidance in response to their local conditions.

Can I visit someone in supported living?

You are only permitted to visit someone in their supported living home if you are part of their support bubble.

In addition to any support bubble arrangement, meeting outdoors (including in private gardens) with up to four people from two households are permitted as long as travel is undertaken locally, you should also try to maintain social distancing.

It is important decisions related to people in supported living are taken collaboratively involving the people living there, their families, the providers of care and support and the commissioners of services.

See the Supported Living guidance for further details.

Can I still see my support worker?

Yes, you can still see your support worker. However, support services should assess whether support can be delivered through phone or video. If support is delivered face-to-face then the support provider should ensure that it is done in a safe manner, with social distancing and provision of PPE if necessary.

Should I be shielding?

Those who are in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should follow the advice in our guidance on shielding.

Sport, exercise and outdoor activity

What kind of exercise is permitted?

There are no legal restrictions on this, but in practice this is constrained by other restrictions, such as the closure of indoor sport and leisure facilities. As one of the purposes of the restrictions is to reduce pressure on the Welsh NHS. You should avoid activities that involve a significant degree of risk (for example swimming or other exercise at sea, or in lakes, rivers or other waterways).

Which sport, leisure and recreation facilities can open?

All indoor sport and leisure facilities must close. However, outdoor sport and leisure facilities, such as parks, children’s playgrounds, tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens, can open.

Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission. However, the risk cannot be eliminated   People should ensure that they maintain social distancing and hand hygiene when visiting these facilities. The operators of these facilities must take all reasonable measures to manage risk and maintain physical distancing

Can I travel to exercise or access sport and leisure facilities?

You can travel for these purposes, but you must stay local. Generally, this means that you should not be travelling more than 5 miles from your home.

Who can I exercise with?

You can exercise in public outdoor places with:

  • members of your household or support bubble, or
  • with people from one other household, as long as the total number of people exercising is no more than 4 (excluding any carers or children under 11 from either of those households), and you remain outdoors.

You should ensure that you maintain social distancing from the people you are exercising with if they are not in your household or support bubble. You should not travel beyond your local area to meet with someone outside of your household or support bubble.

How are playgrounds being kept safe?

Each owner or operator is required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus. We have provided guidance, which asks owners and operators to carry out a risk assessment and put in place practical measures to minimise the risk of coronavirus – reopening children's playgrounds and outdoor play areas. Each owner or operator needs to apply this guidance to the facility they are responsible for, depending on the circumstances, layout and design. This will include taking account of the size, equipment and how the playground is organised, operated, and managed.

It is not possible to completely remove all risk. But the benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and going to the park supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to take responsibility for social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene, for example by encouraging frequent handwashing or sanitisation, wiping down equipment with their own wipes, and maintaining low numbers within parks and on equipment by taking turns or using parks at less busy times.

Can children play outside in the street in their neighbourhoods?

The benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and being able to play outside supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.

The rules for meeting outdoors are the same for children aged 11 and over as they are for adults. A maximum of four people from two households can meet (excluding children under 11 from either household). Children can also play outside with members of their own household or support bubble.

There are no legal limits on the number of children aged under 11 that can gather, but no more than two households can meet at the same time.

This also applies where children are in the same ‘school or class bubble’. This is because play at school is likely to be more controlled and organised with less likelihood of coming into unintended contact with people from outside of the bubble. 

Will professional sports and elite sport continue?

Yes, professional sports and elite sport will be able to continue. Spectators will continue to be prohibited from attending sporting events.

Are spectators allowed at sporting events in Wales?

Spectators will continue to be prohibited from attending sporting events

Shopping and personal services

What shops are allowed to open at alert level 4?

All leisure, solely non-essential retail and close contact services (except for hairdressers and barbers) are closed. This includes clothes shops, furniture shops and car dealerships among many others. A full list of types of businesses required to close is available in our guidance on business closures.

Shops that are required to close are still able to provide click and collect or home delivery services.

Shops allowed to remain open include supermarkets and other food retailers, pharmacies, banks, post offices and garden centres (from 22 March). However, wherever possible people should avoid unnecessary visits to these, and use alternative approaches such as online services and deliveries.

Why are some shops closed and not others?

It is important to remember that restrictions exist to protect our health, the NHS and save lives. This is primarily achieved by people staying at home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus by breaking the chain of transmission.

Under current restrictions, people must stay local. Although rates of infection are reducing and our vaccination programme is proceeding well there are still concerns regarding emerging new strains of the virus. This requires us to remain cautious in our approach.

We are easing restrictions slowly, in a phased manner which reflects scientific advice. Our gradual easing of restrictions will provide us with scope to assess any impact, closely monitor case numbers and take appropriate action.  We need everyone in Wales to keep following the rules and still avoid mixing with other people wherever possible. 

When will all non-essential shops be open?

If the public health situations does not deteriorate before then, all retail will reopen on 12 April. We will carry out an assessment of the public health situation closer to the time to confirm if reopening can take place.

Until retail reopens fully, shoppers will continue to be able to purchase items through click and collect and via online platforms.  Supermarkets and some other mixed retailers will extend their product ranges from 22 March.

Please see the business closures guidance for further information.

How far can I travel to shop for essentials?

You must stay local to your home whenever possible. You should only travel outside of your local area to obtain supplies that you could not reasonably be expected to obtain locally. People are advised to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces wherever possible, particularly indoors. Alternative approaches such as online services and deliveries should be used wherever possible.

What restrictions are in place on alcohol sales?

Shops that are allowed to be open must stop selling alcohol from 10pm and cannot begin to sell alcohol again until 6am the next day. Online deliveries from supermarkets and other providers must not include alcohol after 10pm. The intention of the restrictions is to ensure that supermarkets (regardless of where their operations are based) are not supplying alcohol to customers in Wales at the point of delivery after 10pm. Any retailers located within Wales but providing deliveries across the border to customers in England should follow the English regulations. 

Am I allowed to use “click and collect” services?

Yes - whether or not shops are allowed to open, they can provide a click and collect service, but you should only travel locally to do so. We advise that you limit your journeys as much as possible. We also ask that you do not travel long distances to access click and collect services.

Am I able to collect goods purchased through social media or e-commerce websites?

Yes but you should do so locally. You may only leave your local area to make necessary purchases that you could not reasonably obtain locally. If it would be reasonably practicable to arrange for home deliveries, then you should not leave your locality. When collecting purchases, you should:

  • minimise all contact with other people
  • wash your hands before handling any goods or use hand sanitiser if access to soap and water is not possible
  • ask the seller to leave any goods in a pre-arranged place where possible
  • consider wearing a face covering.

You should avoid travelling long distances to collect goods or consider home delivery where possible.

Can I go shopping with my friends?

No. Meeting with people from outside your household or support bubble for shopping is not allowed.

Are refuse and recycling centres open?

Yes, these can remain open.

Can mobile phone shops open?

Mobile phone operators' retail stores are permitted to stay open for the purpose of service enquiries and customer support, such as repairs. They should not be open for general sales.

Can garden centres open?

From 22 March, garden centres can open as long as they take all reasonable measures to minimise the spread of the virus.

Can hairdressers and barbers open?

From 15 March, hairdressers and barbers can open, by appointment only, as long as they take all reasonable measures to minimise the spread of the virus.

When providing close contact services it is generally not possible to maintain physical distancing. As a result most service providers will need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). A face covering will be required as a minimum, but other PPE such as face visors may also be advisable. Please see our additional guidance (face coverings: guidance for the public).

You will be expected to provide contact details in attending a hairdresser or barber, and you are advised to attend your appointment alone if possible.

Can mobile hairdressers come to my home to offer services?

As with other tradespeople, mobile hairdressers would be able to attend a person’s home as part of their work, but this would only be where no reasonably practicable alternative applied.  If it was reasonably practicable for a person to attend a salon or barbers, then they should not book an appointment with a mobile hairdresser. 

However, there may be occasions where there is no reasonably practicable alternative than to have the hair appointment at home. For example, when people would not be able to travel due to a disability or where travel would have a significant detrimental effect on wellbeing. In circumstances such as this, they could make an appointment for services in their home. The mobile hairdresser or barber must take all reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and consider the guidance on working in other people’s homes. This is particularly important as cutting hair involves people being close together for a prolonged period of time.

Can I go for any of these treatments with my friends?

You should attend these appointments alone unless you are taking children or accompanying a vulnerable adult. Our guidance to businesses providing close contact services says that that when they take client bookings they should ask the client to attend for their appointment on their own. 

Can other close contact services open?

The majority of close contact services must close. This includes massage and acupuncture in the majority of circumstances, tattoo and beauty services.

The only exceptions to this is where there is a referral in place for a clinically qualified therapist to provide medical treatments for illness or injury.

Please see the business closures guidance for further details.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs

Are cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars able to open?

These premises are allowed to open for takeaway services only. Food and drink may not be consumed at the premises. Alcoholic drinks cannot be sold between 10pm and 6am.

Physical distancing measures must be applied, and customers and staff are required to wear a face covering.

Arts and entertainment

What entertainment venues are closed?

All arts and entertainment venues must close. This includes:

  • cinemas (including drive-in cinemas)
  • bowling alleys
  • soft play centres
  • trampoline parks and centres
  • skating rinks
  • indoor skate parks and centres
  • museums
  • galleries
  • bingo halls
  • casinos
  • amusement arcades
  • funfairs, amusement parks and theme parks
  • theatres and concert halls
  • nightclubs
  • sexual entertainment venues

Please see the business closures guidance for more information.

What attractions can open and what must close?

All visitor attractions must close, whether indoors or outdoors. This includes for example cinemas, funfairs, amusement parks, theme parks, museums, galleries, educational and visitor attractions.

Are drive-in events allowed?

Drive-in events are not permitted while alert level 4 restrictions are in place.

Travelling and transport

Are there travel restrictions in place in Wales?

Yes. Travel is limited to the local area only except in limited circumstances, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes. For most people, as a rule of thumb this would be up to five miles from their home. People in rural areas may need to travel further in order to access services spread over a wider geographical area.

Can I travel to see my support bubble if they do not live locally?

Travel outside of your local area is permitted for the purpose of meeting with someone in your support bubble, including travel abroad

I live in Wales, can I go on holiday in Wales or elsewhere?

No. Going on holiday is not currently one of the permitted reasons to travel under the Regulations, whether that is in Wales, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

If you have pre-booked – and paid – for a holiday, we would advise you to contact the travel agent or travel company to discuss the current situation in Wales and the restrictions, which have been put in place by the Welsh Government to restrict non-essential travel. You should also contact your travel insurer to discuss the situation – while many insurers have designed policies with coronavirus exclusion clauses, some annual policies may cover this situation.

I do not live in Wales, can I travel to Wales, or from within the UK, for a holiday or to visit family and friends?

In general no. Travel into Wales is not allowed without a reasonable excuse, for example, travelling for work purposes. Visiting family and friends or having a holiday is not currently considered a reasonable excuse.

If you are considering travelling to Wales from within the UK, you will need to ensure that you follow the rules where you live.

What are the rules for people arriving in to Wales from international destinations?

Generally, travelling in to Wales from abroad is not permitted unless there is a reasonable excuse such as for work purposes or education.

Pre-Departure Testing requirement: all travellers to Wales must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours before departure for all travellers age 11 and over. If your test result is positive, you must not travel.

If you arrive in Wales without proof of a negative test result, you could be fined £500. For more information, please see the guidance on testing for people travelling to Wales.

From 15 February, all people who have been in a RED list country in the previous 10 days will not be allowed into Wales. Travellers returning to the UK from RED list countries must arrive through one of the designated ports of entry to the UK in England or Scotland. They must then isolate for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel.

All travellers to Wales from AMBER list countries (any country outside of the Common Travel Area and not on the RED list) must have pre-booked tests before departure for themselves and all members of their group including children aged 5 or over.  This is in addition to the Pre-Departure Testing requirement.

Will I need to self-isolate if I travel in to Wales from an international destination?

If you have been in a RED list country in the previous 10 days will not be allowed into Wales. See information above.

If you are travelling from an AMBER list country (any country outside the Common Travel Area and not on the RED list) you will must isolate for 10 days.

There are no provisions where a negative test taken before travel or in England through the Test to Release Scheme or on arrival in Wales would avoid or reduce the isolation requirements in Wales. There is no Test to Release Scheme in Wales. 

For more information, please see the guidance on how to self-isolate when you travel to Wales.

Can I collect or drop off someone at the airport if they are travelling to Wales for an allowed purpose?

Yes, if the only alternative would be for them to use public transport or a taxi. Please follow our guidance on travelling safely.

Are accommodation businesses in Wales allowed to open?

All accommodation businesses must currently remain closed, except for the purposes of providing accommodation to anyone living there as a main residence or to accommodate individuals at the request of local authorities or Welsh Ministers (for example, key workers, people who have been displaced or are homeless, or medical patients).

If conditions permit, self-contained accommodation will be able to open from 27 March. This will include any accommodation which does not require guests to share washing facilities, toilets or kitchens. Hotels and other serviced accommodation, for example, B&Bs and hostels, which have en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals also come in to this category. All accommodation providers will be required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the spread of the virus.

Can I travel to and from my second home or holiday home to prepare it to rent to other people?

Travel in and out of Wales is not permitted unless there is a reasonable excuse. Travel within Wales is also limited to within the local area. Therefore, people should not be travelling outside of their local area unless they have a reasonable excuse.

However, in light of the plans to reopen self-contained accommodation in Wales on 27 March, we recognise that owners may need to check, inspect, or maintain their property in preparation of accepting bookings. We would encourage this activity to be undertaken by someone locally if possible in order to minimise travel outside of the local area. If this is not possible, then you are permitted to travel for these preparation purposes only. You, or anyone acting on your behalf, must not stay overnight at the property.

The same rules apply to caravans, boats and other temporary accommodation.

Is public transport still operating?

Services are continuing, particularly during peak times. However, bus and rail timetables have been reduced and potentially subject to late cancellations. Face coverings must be worn on public transport. Please check the latest service information before you travel.

Can taxis still operate?

Yes, taxis can still operate where measures are in place to mitigate the risks which are involved when sharing a vehicle. However, all journeys must be local unless one of the very limited purposes where travel outside of the local area is permitted, applies. Face coverings must be worn in taxis.

Can I still have repair and maintenance work done on my vehicle?

Yes, but you should access these services locally.

My MOT is due – do I still have to get it done?

Yes, you still need a valid MOT certificate if you need to use your vehicle.

Can I car share or give someone a lift?

We do not recommend that you share a car with people who are not part of your household or support bubble unless it is necessary and there are no other alternatives. Where it cannot be avoided, you should take steps to minimise the risk of coronavirus such as increasing physical distancing as much as possible and wearing a face covering.

If you cannot work from home and need to travel to work, you should consider how to do so in the safest way possible. Please see the guidance on travelling safely for more information.

Can I have driving lessons?

No – during this period, driving and riding lessons should not take place unless you have a test booked as part of the limited practical test service in England and Wales for NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job. 

I have a driving or motorcycle practical test booked during this period – can it go ahead?

No – you should rearrange your test unless you have a test booked as part of the limited practical test service in England and Wales for NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job.  

There is currently no charge for rearranging your test with DVSA.

I have a theory test booked during this period – can it go ahead?

No – you should rearrange your test unless you have a test booked as part of the limited theory test service in England and Wales for NHS health and social care workers, emergency services and local council workers who need to both drive as part of their job and respond to 'threats to life' as part of their job.

Face coverings

Where will face coverings be required?

Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places. This includes on public transport and taxis, and in places where take-away food and drink is sold. This applies to everyone aged 11 and over, unless an exception applies. Children under 11 do not have to wear face coverings.

Please visit our guidance on face coverings to see the rules on when face coverings are required and details on exemptions.

Can I be exempt from wearing a face covering? 

Some people do not have to wear a face covering, and there are a number of situations in which people can also temporarily remove coverings. Please visit our guidance to see if you may be exempt. 

Are face coverings required in education and childcare settings?

If social distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings should be worn anywhere on the school estate, including in the classroom by staff at primary and secondary schools and secondary school learners. The exception is at mealtimes and when they are outside, unless the school risk assessment indicates that additional measures are needed, for example, on a school yard where there are a large number of learners in a relatively small space without separation of contact groups (such as when waiting to enter school).

Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above on school transport.

 Visitors to the school or setting should use a face covering, including parents when dropping off and picking up learners.

For more information, please see the schools guidance.

Will I have to wear a face covering in my workplace?

If you work in an area open to the public, yes. If not, your employer should advise you.

Employers are expected to mandate the use of face coverings in other indoor workplaces where social distancing cannot be maintained, unless there are strong reasons not to. You may therefore find you are required to wear a face covering at work even in places which are not open to the public.

Please see the guidance on face coverings for further information.

Election

Will the Senedd election go ahead on the 6th May?

The Welsh Government remains committed to holding the election on 6th May 2021 and preparations are in place for the election to take place on this date.

Please see the elections guidance for further updates.

Are political parties, candidates and other campaigners permitted to deliver election leaflets?

People must stay local except for very limited purposes and they must not visit other households.

In the current circumstances, distributing election leaflets door-to-door is only permitted as long as the person does not leave the local area to do so. Political parties, candidates and campaigners are encouraged to consider the full range of means available to them, including delivery services and social media, to provide information to the electorate about the election.

For more information on the Senedd election, please see the elections guidance.

Can political parties, candidates and other campaigners engage in door-to-door campaigning?

People must stay local except for very limited purposes and they must not visit other households.

The rules currently prohibit campaigning door-to-door. Political parties, candidates and campaigners are encouraged to consider the full range of means, including social media, available to them to provide information to the electorate about the election.

For more information on the Senedd election, please see the elections guidance.

Moving home

Can I move home?

Yes, moving home is a reasonable excuse to travel beyond your local area.

Associated activities, for example, removals processes, property preparation, handover of keys, surveys and valuations can also take place in line with guidance on working in other people’s homes.

For more information, please see the guidance on moving home.

Can home viewings take place?

High street estate and letting agencies are required to close their premises to the public. We strongly advise that virtual viewings are used wherever possible, but viewings of properties can take place. Household mixing must be avoided during viewing. For more information please see our guidance on moving home during coronavirus.

Can a valuation or mortgage survey be done at my property?

People responsible for valuing and surveying, such as estate agents, are not prohibited from entering people’s homes, as long as it is managed in a safe way and both the worker and household members are well and have no symptoms of coronavirus. See guidance on working in other people’s homes for more information.

For more information, please see the guidance on moving home.

Can I be evicted from my home?

No, evictions are not currently allowed to take place with very few exceptions (e.g. where related to anti-social behaviour). Any evictions that are currently scheduled will be postponed.

Are refuges still open?

Emergency accommodation for victims fleeing domestic abuse and sexual violence remain open and continue accepting referrals. Live Fear Free helpline is a 24 hour, free service for anyone experiencing violence or abuse, or for anyone concerned about a victim’s safety. Live Fear free can be contacted by

Phone: 0808 8010 800 or Text: 078600 77333

Live chat

Guidance for providers of refuge accommodation on making these safe can be accessed here.

Places of worship and major life events

What are the rules for religious services?

Places of worship are allowed to be open to the public. However, wherever possible we still advise that people avoid congregating with people they do not live with. For example faith leaders may still choose to broadcast (without a congregation) an act of worship whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast. Weddings and funerals may also be broadcast from places of worship.

Ceremonies for weddings, funerals and other life events such as bar mitzvahs and baptisms are permitted in places of worship. People are able to attend at the invitation of the organiser. Please see the guidance on funeralsguidance on weddings and places of worship for more information.

Are all potential wedding or civil partnership ceremony venues now allowed to open?

Venues that are ‘approved premises’ for hosting a wedding and civil partnership ceremonies  (or an alternative ceremony such as a humanist wedding) may open but only for that purpose. This is subject to the need to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on the premises.

Wedding or civil partnership ‘receptions’ are not permitted while alert level 4 restrictions are in place.

Are there limits to the number of people who can attend ceremonies for weddings, funerals and other life events?

The number who are able to attend a wedding, civil partnership, funeral or life events indoors is limited by the capacity of the venue where it is being held, once physical distancing measures have been taken into account.

To ensure that the maximum number that can attend is observed attendance must be by invitation only. Please see the relevant guidance on weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

What are the rules on holding receptions and other celebrations?

Wedding and civil partnership receptions are not allowed. Celebrations or social gatherings associated with other life events, such as for bar mitzvahs or baptisms are also not allowed.

A close family member has died and I need to organise the funeral – what do I do?

Funerals can be a distressing experience, and the impact of coronavirus is making it even more difficult to make practical arrangements. Guidance on funerals has been issued.

Can I go to a funeral?

Yes, but you must be invited. Numbers are constrained by the need to put physical distancing measures in place. 

I am travelling for several hours to attend a funeral. Can I stay in a hotel overnight?

Local authorities have the discretion to allow people to stay in hotels if they are travelling long instances to attend a funeral. 

Can I hold a wake or another form of gathering following a funeral?

No – these gatherings are not allowed.

Can I go to a cemetery to visit a family member’s grave?

Yes. But you should ensure that you follow physical distancing practices when doing so.

Animal health and welfare

Are vets still able to work?

Veterinary services may continue to operate but non-essential sales of petcare products must cease, in line with suspension of non-essential retail. Services that are not necessary for the health and welfare of animals or for the production of food should be deferred.

Can I travel to tend to my animals for welfare reasons?

Yes, but you should try to put in place alternative arrangements that do not involve travel outside of your local area if possible.

Are dog groomers allowed to be open?

Dog groomers are permitted to offer a drop-off service. Customers must book in advance and all reasonable measures must be taken minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Please see the click and collect and other services section of the business closures guidance for further information.

Enforcement and fines

Who enforces the restrictions?

The restrictions are being enforced by local authority enforcement officers and the police.

What can police and local authority enforcement officers do?

They can issue fixed penalty notices or recommend prosecution in a magistrates’ court. In addition, they have wide-ranging powers to take practical steps to disperse gatherings, require people to go home and enter property.

What if reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus aren’t taken on premises or in the workplace?

Local authority enforcement officers are able to issue a “premises improvement notice”.  This requires the person responsible for the premises to take specified measures, and if those measures are not taken an officer may issue a “premises closure notice” requiring the premises to close. Officers are also able to issue fixed penalty notices, starting from £1,000 for a first offence and rising with any further offences.

Where necessary, an officer may also issue a premises closure notice without having previously issued a premises improvement notice. So if people don’t comply premises can be closed down.

What will the police do?

The police in Wales will engage with people, explain what they need to do and encourage them to comply. But our police forces have been given powers and they will use them – the restrictions will be enforced if people don’t respond.

What are the financial penalties?

The coronavirus regulations include provisions for a fixed penalty notice to be issued for most types of breaches of the regulations, carrying a fine of £60; this is increased to £120 for a second offence and continues to double for repeated offences, up to a maximum of £1,920. If prosecuted, however, a court can impose any fine (it is not limited).

Organising an unlicensed music event of more than 30 people is a separate criminal offence. These are events that are not licensed or otherwise authorised under the Licensing Act 2003. A breach of this prohibition will be an offence punishable by conviction and an unlimited fine or, as an alternative to conviction, by a fixed penalty set at £10,000.  

The unlimited fine or significant fixed penalty for organisers of these illegal events reflects the potentially serious public health consequences at this time.

We hope people understand the severity of the situation we are facing and will comply with the regulations, without having to be issued penalties.