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

First published:
18 December 2020
Last updated:

General

What do you mean by "Level 4”?

Alert level 4 means that:

  • people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • people must not visit other households, or meet other people they do not live with
  • many types of businesses are required to close

As at all alert levels, 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, and 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. The purpose of moving to alert level 4 is to do everything we can to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect people’s health, so every individual contribution counts towards that collective effort.

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 will be reviewed at least every 3 weeks.

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.

Staying at home

When can I leave home?

You should only be outside of your home for very limited reasons, which include:

  • the need to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance. We encourage everyone to make this as infrequently as possible
  • to exercise locally
  • to access childcare and education
  • to access medical services
  • to access public services
  • to provide or access emergency assistance
  • 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, but only where it is not reasonably practicable to do this from home
  • to visit a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects
  • to attend a place of worship
  • to attend a wedding, civil partnership or funeral if you are 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

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

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.

Should I be shielding?

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

Current advice is that you should no longer attend work or school outside the home if you fall within this group. Those on the shielding patient list have been sent a letter by the Minister for Health and Social Services confirming this advice.

The regulations in place act to reduce the circulation of the virus and by sticking strictly to the rules, people who are vulnerable will reduce their risk of exposure. Further reductions in risk can be achieved by:

  • keeping contacts to a minimum. At present, most cases are being passed within families and close friends
  • staying 2 metres, or 3 steps away from people you do not live with inside or outside (where permitted)
  • shopping at quieter times of day and going once per week rather than every day, if you cannot do this online
  • washing hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water and using hand sanitiser where hand washing facilities are not available
  • avoiding touching your face
  • wearing a face covering  when required (unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse not to do so, such as because of a specific disability)
  • avoiding touching surfaces that have been touched by others
  • keeping your home well ventilated

Please see the guidance on shielding for more information.

Seeing other people

Can I meet up with another household?

For most households the answer will be no, you must not meet up with anyone you do not live with, except in very limited circumstances such as providing or receiving care and support (see answer below on caring responsibilities and compassionate grounds) or for exercise.

If you are eligible you can form a support bubble with one other household. This will allow you to spend time with the people in that household as if you lived with them.

Please see our guidance on seeing people in private homes for more information.

Can friends or family from another household come into my home?

No, except in some very limited circumstances – see answer above.

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

No. Under alert level 4 restrictions, people must reduce all physical contact between households to an absolute minimum, so as to do as much as we can to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Can I meet up with someone if one or both of us have had the coronavirus vaccine?

No – the rules are the same for people who have had the vaccine as for everyone else.

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.

Can I form an extended household?

No, you cannot form an extended household at alert level 4. 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.

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.

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).

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.

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 home to visit a loved one living in a care home?

Care home visits are permitted under alert level 4 for compassionate reasons, but should be restricted to outdoor visits, or visits within visitor pods or similar enclosed spaces. These visits will be suspended in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at the home.

Indoor visits are permitted in exceptional circumstances including, but not restricted to end of life, as they have been throughout the pandemic.

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.

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 their 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 rely on my wider family and friends to provide childcare while I am in work. Can they still do this for me?

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.

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.

I live alone or am a single parent, or parent of a child under one, so I am allowed 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 authority 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. 

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 with very high incidence rates of coronavirus.

Sport, exercise and outdoor activity

Can I leave home to exercise?

Yes. Exercise is important for physical and mental health, and you can leave home as often as you like to exercise. Exercise should be undertaken locally and must start and finish at your home or the home of your support bubble.

You must not drive to a location away from home, except in limited circumstances (see below).

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)

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 also be mindful that exercise must start and finish from your home. You should not travel to meet with someone outside of your household or support bubble.

What kind of exercise is permitted?

There are no legal limits on this, but in practice this is constrained by other restrictions at alert level 4, such as the closure of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools. 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).

Are there any limits on how far I can run or cycle for exercise?

There are no limits on the distance you can travel during exercise, though the nearer you stay to your home, the better. Your exercise must start and finish from your home, or the home of the members of your support bubble.

Does taking a walk count as exercise?

Absolutely. All time spent outdoors is beneficial, as long as people avoid interacting with people they do not live with.

I use a wheelchair or mobility scooter to get about. If I want to go out, does this count as exercise?

Absolutely. All time spent outdoors is beneficial, as long as people avoid interacting with people they do not live with.

Can I exercise by going fishing or horse riding?

This is not specifically prohibited. However, you must not drive to get to somewhere to exercise, and the need to carry sports equipment isn’t regarded as a justification on its own for driving in these circumstances. This will mean in practice most people cannot do these things while we are in alert level 4.

Can I play tennis or golf?

Golf and tennis clubs are required to close in alert level 4, as are golf courses and tennis courts. 

Can I go hunting?

No. Leaving your home to exercise should not be used as an excuse to undertake other activity which is not permitted. The purpose of leaving home must be to exercise.

Traditional hunts such as Boxing Day hunts also generally involve large gatherings of people which are also prohibited as they create a significant risk of passing on the virus.

Are parks open?

Parks are allowed to remain open for outdoor exercise. You can visit parks with other people for exercise purposes as long as you follow the rules on who you can exercise with.

Some parts of parks such as sports courts, skate parks, bowling greens and golf courses (including putting, pitch and putt or miniature golf) will be closed.

Are children’s playgrounds open?

Yes. The benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and keeping parks and playgrounds open supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.

However, the risk cannot be eliminated, and parents and guardians are encouraged to ensure playgrounds do not get too busy, and take responsibility for social distancing. In particular, you must not arrange to meet with other households at playgrounds and should not socialise there.

We also encourage frequent handwashing or sanitisation, not eating or drinking in parks, wiping down equipment with your 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?  

Yes, if they do not have access to other outdoor space, if it is safe to do so and if they are supervised appropriately by adults. 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.

Children can play outside with members of their own household or support bubble but should not arrange to meet with children from other households. This applies to under 11s as well as to over 11s. Where children are old enough to understand the rules, they should be encouraged to follow them and to avoid mixing with other children outside their household or support bubble.

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. 

Can I drive somewhere to exercise?

Exercise should be undertaken locally – from home or as close as possible to the home. In general this must not involve people driving to a location away from home for this purpose. No journeys of any significant distance should be taken, for example, just in order to exercise in the countryside or at beauty spots. This is the law and not just guidance. Police can fine people who travel beyond their local area to beauty spots.

Disabled people or people with a physical or mental illness or impairment  may, however, need to travel from their home in order to be able to exercise. For example, some wheelchair users may not be able to start to exercise immediately outside their homes for practical access reasons, and may need to drive to a suitable flat location, such as a park, for this purpose.

In these circumstances the journey should be to the nearest convenient accessible location and no long journeys should be undertaken unless absolutely necessary.

The need to carry sports equipment isn’t regarded as a justification on its own for driving in these circumstances.

Can I do other things while out for exercise?

Yes, as long as they are also permitted, and do not involve gathering with people outside of the permitted rules. Combining exercise with walking a dog or going to a shop to buy food, for example, is considered to be reasonable.

Leaving your home to exercise should not be used as an excuse to undertake other activity which is not permitted. The purpose of leaving home is to exercise.

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.

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?

You must work from home if you can.

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 remains 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.

My work cannot be done from home – can I still go to work?

Yes. Occupations like construction and manufacturing can continue, subject to compliance with other rules such as employers ensuring that all reasonable measures are taken to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Many public services also rely on face-to-face provision, and these can continue where necessary.

My work cannot be done from home but I have concerns about my health and safety at work, what should I do?

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 building, repair or maintenance work in someone’s home?

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople, 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.

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.

I have already started building, repair or maintenance work in someone’s home, can I complete that work?

Work underway 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. Social distancing will need to be observed at all times. However, we recommend that people consider whether the work can be safely deferred.

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 must do so from home 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.

Does my business have to close under the new restrictions?

We have published a full list of businesses that are required to close temporarily in alert level 4.

We recognise the enormous efforts businesses have made to become safe places. This closure requirement is not a reflection on those efforts and many business environments make a low or moderate contribution only to the risk of transmitting the virus. But at alert level 4, minimising any contribution to the spread of the virus is important, which is why certain businesses are required to close.

I run a business that is required to close in alert level 4. Is there any support available?

The Welsh Government has made £340m available through the Economic Resilience Fund to support businesses affected by the new changes to the regulations.

This support is split into two funds: a £160m Restrictions Business Fund and a £180m Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme for hospitality and tourism.

An extra £110m has been added to the Restrictions Business Fund to support those businesses which are affected by the alert level restrictions.

The Restrictions Business Fund will enable eligible businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors, which pay non-domestic rates (NDR), to access grants of up to £5,000.

Businesses not on the NDR system, will be able to continue to apply to local authorities for the Lockdown Discretionary Grant of up to £2,000.

In addition, hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses will be able to access a sector-specific Economic Resilience Fund grant scheme.

Small and medium sized businesses meeting the criteria could receive up to £100k. Depending on circumstances, larger Welsh-based businesses may receive up to a maximum of £150k.

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 March 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

The Welsh Government is also making available £25m for local authorities to provide a discretionary grant for businesses that are closed or materially impacted. 

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 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?

Unlike in earlier lockdowns, at alert level 4 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.

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.

Education and childcare

Will schools remain open at alert level 4?

The decision whether or not to open primary and secondary schools for in person learning in alert level 4 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.

Schools have started a phased return for foundation phase (children aged 3-7) learners.

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

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 leave home. 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 at alert level 4.

Please see the higher education guidance for more information.

Are university students who live away from home expected to return 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, for example for work, to provide or receive care or because of concerns about your wellbeing. You should not return home for a ‘visit’ during this period. You should not travel home if you have been asked to self-isolate or have Covid-19 symptoms.

What are the rules for colleges?

The decision whether or not to open colleges for face to face learning in alert level 4 is kept under review in line with the latest public health and scientific evidence and information.

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

Will I still be able to use childcare and play services at alert level 4?

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 gatherings including attendance at wider children’s activities, sport or leisure 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.

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.

Are activities and clubs for children allowed to run?

No (unless they are provided online). Mixing between households is not permitted during alert level 4 except in limited circumstances. No indoor or outdoor gatherings are allowed. 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. This reflects that people including children should not be spending time with people they do not live with unless essential.

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 at alert level 4?

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?

If you are a single adult or a household with a single responsible adult, and you are in supported living, you are entitled to form a support bubble with one other household.

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.

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.

Shopping and personal services

What shops are allowed to open at alert level 4?

All leisure, close contact services and non-essential retail is 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 and post offices. 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 alert level 4 restrictions exist to protect our health, the NHS and save lives. This is primarily achieved by people staying home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus by breaking the chain of transmission.

People should ask themselves whether they need to leave home. Clearly there are plenty of valid reasons why people may need to leave home, the most obvious of which is to buy food. However, people should do everything they can to keep to a minimum the amount of times they leave home for this purpose and the amount of time they are away. They should also consider whether alternatives such as home delivery are available. In addition if people do not need to buy any particular product they should not leave home to do so. Leaving home without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence.

For some shops, all or the large majority of sales they make will be of items that are not needed urgently, and therefore people will never or very rarely be allowed to travel to those shops. It does not make sense in those circumstances to allow those shops to remain open, and doing so might wrongly imply to people that they are allowed to leave home to go to them.

Why are parts of supermarkets closed?

The reason for this is broadly the same as why some shops are closed. To minimise contact with others, people should be doing everything they can to keep to a minimum the amount of times they leave home and the amount of time they are away. If the products you wish to buy are not essential and are not needed urgently, you should not be making a special trip out to buy them. You should either wait until alert level 4 restrictions are lifted or consider whether alternatives such as home delivery are available.

It would also not be fair to allow supermarkets to sell all those products, which are sold by other retailers that have been required to close. As shops selling electrical goods, for example, have been required to close, supermarkets should not be able to sell the same products they sell.

I need to buy something that is physically in the shop but is not available for sale – what can I do?

In exceptional circumstances shops that sell multiple types of product (such as supermarkets) can sell other products that are not on general sale at alert level 4. Those products must be required in an emergency or on compassionate grounds.

Individual stores will have their own processes for managing that, and you should make enquiries within the store as to how to access these products. You should also be aware that these shops do not have to sell these products to you.

When speaking to the staff in a shop, please maintain social distancing and please be respectful of them. It may be that staff will want to check that you are aware of the rules that apply in Wales. Shopping in current circumstances is a different experience, but please bear in mind that this is not the fault of shop workers who will only be doing what they are required to do by law and by their employers.

It is also important to remember that where an item is not available for general sale, you should only be seeking to buy it in a store in exceptional circumstances such as an emergency, and you only have a reasonable excuse to leave home to do so in those circumstances. If you can get the item delivered to your home, or the home of another person in need you are buying it for, this is safer and this is what you should do. We have asked supermarkets to provide priority delivery slots for extremely vulnerable people (those people who were previously shielding) so ordering products from supermarkets for home delivery should not lead to significant delays.

Will I have to give a detailed explanation of my personal circumstances in order to persuade shop staff to sell me something I urgently need?

No. Shops should not ask for evidence from you to demonstrate what the exceptional circumstances are which mean you need to buy a product that is not on general sale. However, they may ask you to confirm that you understand that there are restrictions and are complying with the law. As a customer you should not be purchasing products in stores that are not on general sale if there are not exceptional circumstances such as an emergency. This is your responsibility.

Will checkout staff or police be going through my trolley to check whether the items I have bought are essential?

No, this shouldn’t happen and we do not expect this to happen. Individual stores will have their own processes for managing their arrangements for selling items that are not on general sale in exceptional circumstances and this includes closing parts of the store to the public. This means you should not have these products in your trolley unless you have already been allowed to buy them. However there is also an onus on you as a customer not to be looking to purchase products that are not on general sale unless exceptional circumstances such as an emergency apply. Shops selling multiple items should, where reasonably practicable, separate or demarcate areas selling non-essential items.

When interacting with staff members, please maintain social distance and please be respectful of them. It may be that staff will want to check that you are aware of the rules that apply in Wales. Shopping in alert level 4 is a different experience, but please bear in mind that this is not the fault of shop workers who will only be doing what they are required to do by law and by their employers.

How far can I travel to shop for essentials at alert level 4?

Please stay local to your home whenever possible. There are no set rules on this, but 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 during alert level 4 restrictions 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. However, you should remember that you may only leave home to make necessary purchases and you should 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 leave home to collect goods purchased through social media or e-commerce websites?

You may only leave home to make necessary purchases. When collecting necessary 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.

Can hairdressers and beauty salons stay open?

No – these services are prohibited under the alert level 4 restrictions, wherever they take place.

Are refuse and recycling centres open?

Yes, these can remain open.

Can mobile phone shops be 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.

However, goods can be sold if it enables customers to stay connected and safe. This might include instant sim replacements to keep them connected, if their sim card stops working; receiving immediate device ‘diagnostics and fix’, if the software malfunctions, or even getting instant trade-in credit for an old device for those financially vulnerable customers who need to upgrade.

Specific arrangements need to be put in place to sell products in these circumstances. Under these arrangements customers should be required to request a purchase of a specific product, and they should not have free access to the products in the shop or be able to browse a product range. 

Shops should have appropriate signage at the entrance to indicate that they are not open for general sales but for repairs and other essential services.

Shops are not, however, required to ask for evidence from the customer that demonstrates that these circumstances apply. The onus here is on customers to comply with the law by having a reasonable basis to leave home to purchase the product, not on the shop to establish whether the customer has a need for the product. 

Can close contact services stay open?

The majority of close contact services must close during alert level 4. This includes massage and acupuncture in the majority of circumstances, tattoo and hair 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.

Are professional sports and elite sports allowed?

Professional sports will be able to continue. Any non-professional sporting events would need to be specifically authorised by Ministers. Spectators will be prohibited from attending sporting events.

Travelling and transport

Are there travel restrictions in place in Wales?

Yes. Travel is limited to essential travel only, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes where people cannot work from home.

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

No. Going on holiday is not one of the permitted reasons to travel under the Regulations at alert level 4, whether that is in Wales, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

We know this will be disappointing but the regulations are in place to protect you and your loved ones from coronavirus.

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.

Can I travel to see my support bubble?

Travel is permitted during alert level 4 restrictions for the purpose of meeting with someone in your support bubble, including travel abroad

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?

Travel is limited to essential travel only when alert level 4 restrictions are in place, for example travelling for work purposes or to return home.

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

Generally, travelling in to Wales from abroad is not permitted at alert level 4. However, there are limited circumstances where it is permitted, such as for work purposes, education or to return home.

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?

No, all accommodation businesses are required to be closed. 

However, accommodation which is closed can continue to provide accommodation for anybody who is living there as their main residence when alert level 4 restrictions are introduced, or is staying there at that time and is unable to return to their main residence. Accommodation businesses should ensure they do not unintentionally make anyone homeless as a result of closure - for advice they should contact the local authority housing options team.

Local authorities or Welsh Ministers can authorise or make a request for accommodation businesses to provide some other services whilst closed. Requests could for example include accommodating key workers, people who have been displaced or are homeless, or medical patients.

I do not live in Wales but I am currently in Wales on holiday. Do I need to return home if the place I am staying goes into alert level 4?

Yes, we ask you to return home – or at least to leave the area within alert level 4 – as soon as possible, ideally before it enters into alert level 4.

We recognise that some people will be unable to return home before alert level 4 comes in to force, for example because they are booked on a flight which cannot be changed. 

In these circumstances, you will need to comply with the restrictions in your current location until you are able to travel home or to another destination outside alert level 4, which you should do as soon as possible. 

In these instances, your accommodation provider is allowed to continue providing its services to you until you can return home. It does not need to be specially authorised to continue accommodating you.

I live somewhere with no travel restrictions – can I transit through alert level 4 areas, for example to use the airport or to pass between England and Ireland?

Yes, this is permitted, but you should keep all necessary stops within areas in alert level 4 to a minimum, and minimise all contact with people as much as possible.

I live in an area that is at alert level 4 but I am currently on holiday outside of Wales. When do I need to return home?

You should return home as soon as you can. We recognise that some people will be unable to return home before alert level 4 restrictions come in to force, for example because they are booked on a flight which cannot be changed. In these circumstances you should return home at the earliest opportunity.

Can I travel to and from my second home when alert level 4 restrictions are in place?

Travel in Wales without a reasonable excuse is an offence while alert level 4 restrictions are in place. Travelling into, out of or within Wales to visit, check, inspect, or stay in a second home or holiday home is not a reasonable excuse. 

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

Caravan owners will need to make arrangements with the site owners to winter-ise their caravans after alert level 4 restrictions are lifted unless there are pressing health and safety or insurance issues. Any travel on those exceptional grounds, to either a caravan or second home, must be for the purpose of dealing with the issue and be for as short a time as possible. This should not, therefore, necessitate an overnight stay.

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 for one of the very limited purposes allowed under alert level 4 restrictions. Face coverings must be worn in taxis.

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

Yes, if this is necessary and cannot reasonably be deferred.

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 for essential travel.  

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?

Face coverings should be worn by secondary school learners and staff everywhere outside the classroom. Face coverings should also be worn by secondary school pupils on school transport and by visitors and parents entering the school estate.

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

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

All of Wales is at alert level 4 and the general rules are that people must stay at home except for very limited purposes and they must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with. People can leave home if they have a “reasonable excuse”. This means leaving home only for a purpose that is reasonably necessary and where there is no reasonably practicable alternative.

In the current circumstances, distributing election leaflets door-to-door is not a reasonable excuse to leave home. Leaflets can of course be distributed safely by post, as mail delivery services continue to operate during the pandemic. 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.

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

All of Wales is at alert level 4 and the general rules are that people must stay at home except for very limited purposes and they must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with. People can leave home if they have a “reasonable excuse”. This means leaving home only for a purpose that is reasonably necessary and where there is no reasonably practicable alternative.

In the current circumstances, campaigning door-to-door is not a reasonable excuse to leave home. 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.

Moving home

Can I move home?

Yes, if you can’t delay the moving date until after alert level 4 restrictions are lifted.

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?

We strongly advise that virtual viewings are used wherever possible, but viewings of properties can take place during alert level 4, however household mixing must be avoided during viewing. For more information please see our guidance on moving home during coronavirus. High street estate agencies are required to close to the public.

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. However, we strongly advise that, wherever possible, such activity is deferred until alert level 4 restrictions are lifted. 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, marriages and civil partnerships, cemeteries, and funerals, and other 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 funerals, guidance 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 while alert level 4 restrictions are in place.

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?

You should try to put in place alternative arrangements that do not involve travel if possible.

Are dog groomers allowed to be open?

Dog groomers are permitted to offer a drop-off service in alert level 4. 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.