What you and businesses can and cannot do during the outbreak and what happens if you break these new laws.
Firebreak from 23 October
New restrictions will apply from 6pm on Friday 23 October. Find out more about the firebreak restrictions and how they affect you.
What restrictions are in place?
There are 5 main things:
- people are not allowed to meet socially anywhere indoors with people they don’t live with be that at home, in the pub or elsewhere. However, if you have formed an (exclusive) extended household, you can meet indoors in a group of up to six members of that extended household at any one time (under 11s are not included when counting the six as long as they are part of that extended household). Extended households are not available in areas with local restrictions.
- people must not gather outdoors in groups of more than 30.
- face coverings are mandatory in indoor public spaces (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
- licensed premises must not sell alcohol after 10pm
- local restrictions are in place in some parts of Wales
Meeting people indoors
Who am I allowed to meet up with socially indoors?
You can only meet socially indoors with people who you live with (your household) and (where there are no local restrictions preventing this) members of your extended household if you have formed one. As of 14 September, meetings or gatherings indoors even within your extended household must be limited to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11).
This applies in places like pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes.
What is an extended household?
Where there are no local restrictions preventing it, up to four households are able to join together to form an extended household. This means all the people living in these separate households become part of one extended household for the purposes of the coronavirus restrictions.
They enjoy the same legal freedoms people living in individual households currently have – such as being able to meet indoors, have physical contact and stay in each other’s homes – other than that as of 14 September, meetings or gatherings indoors even within your extended household must be limited to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11). This applies in places like pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes.
I live alone in an area with local restrictions, can I meet up with another household?
Yes. If you are an adult living alone or are a single parent household, from 3 October you can visit or meet with one other household indoors. But you and other household must both live in the same local “lockdown” area (formally known as a local health protection area).
So people who live alone, including single parents, in areas under local restrictions will be able to join up with one other household in that area to create a temporary extended household or bubble.
You are only allowed to ‘bubble’ with one other household and must not change that household. You cannot meet with anyone else indoors.
Indoor gatherings are limited to six people from an extended household – is that an absolute limit?
Children aged under 11 are not included – so a gathering of an extended household could for example include four adults, two teenage children and any number of younger children under 11.
Carers – whether they are care workers or unpaid carers – do not form part of your extended household and do not count towards the limit of 6 people over 11 in a group. However, they can continue to provide you with whatever support you need, and go anywhere with you if you need their support.
Finally, there are slightly different rules for larger households that are themselves made up of more than 6 people aged 11 or over.
There are already over 6 people aged 11 or over in my household – are we exempt from the rule that only 6 people can gather together?
To a large extent, yes. Clearly, all members of the household need to be able to be at home together, and there is no public health benefit in preventing the members of a household from being able to go out places together. Therefore, a household of (say) 8 people aged 11 or over could go to a restaurant, café, bar or pub together as a group.
However, if some members of that household wish to meet up with other people in their extended household, each gathering should contain no more than 6 people aged 11 or over.
For example, if a family of 6 people all aged 11 or over were in an extended household arrangement with their neighbour who lived alone, and wanted to go out for a meal with the neighbour, only a maximum of five people from that family would be allowed to go.
I have a booking for more than six people – can it still go ahead?
Any group bookings that are not permitted, including for travel, visitor attractions, restaurants or elsewhere, must be postponed or, where possible, changed to proceed in line with the legal requirements (i.e. as a group of up to 6 people not including children under 11, and made up exclusively of people from your household or extended household).
What is the purpose of having an extended household?
The idea is to allow families or close friends who have been separated over these last few months to reconnect with each other and enjoy each other’s close company once again.
These extended household arrangements also support caring arrangements. In particular, they may help working parents with informal childcare, as more businesses reopen their doors and return to formalised working arrangements and they may help people with other caring responsibilities.
Is there a limit on the number of people who can be in an extended household?
No. There is no limit on the number of people who can be in an extended household, providing they all live in the (maximum of 4) households being joined together.
However, any one meeting or gathering indoors even within your extended household must be limited to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11). This applies in places like pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes.
Can I break up my existing extended household so I can join a different one?
No. Once you have agreed and formed an extended household with another household, you can’t switch to join together with someone else instead. This is to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
If you live in an area with local restrictions, any previous extended household arrangements you have entered into are no longer allowed. However, if you are an adult living alone or a single parent household, you are now able to join up with one other household in your area to create a temporary extended household or bubble.
You are only allowed to ‘bubble’ with one other household and must not change that household, and you cannot meet with anyone else indoors.
Can I go into an extended household with a household in England?
Yes, but the arrangements need to comply with the rules in both countries. The rules that apply in England are available here.
I live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) – does everyone in the house need to agree to be part of the same extended household?
No, in circumstances like this you each form separate households and are each allowed to form your own extended households (unless you live in an area with local restrictions). However where people have some private space but share facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens, the law also allows you to gather indoors with the people you share those facilities with, in groups of up to six.
That means you can spend time in your home, or in other indoor places, with either
- members of your extended household if you have one, in a group of up to six people (not including any children under 11), or
- a group of up to six people who live in your house and who share cooking or bathroom facilities with you
This additional freedom does mean that there is an increased risk that coronavirus could spread throughout the house - and then onwards again to your respective households.
So you should be aware that if you all form extended households you are putting yourselves (and others) at increased risk. Our advice is that you should think very carefully about forming an extended household in these circumstances.
I share parental responsibility for a child with someone I don’t live with – can they be treated as part of both extended households?
Where parental responsibility is shared, existing arrangements can continue and the child can move between both parents, and therefore between both parents’ households, even where one or both parents live in areas with local restrictions.
The child should be considered to be part of the household or extended household of the parent they are with at any particular time. In other words if either or both parents form an extended household with a household which does not include the other parent, the child could continue to move freely between the parents, and be part of both extended households (i.e. the child does not have to socially distance within the extended household, whichever parent they are with).
Seeing people outside your extended household
What are the limits on who I can meet outdoors?
Gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors. But you should continue to maintain physical and social distancing from people outside your household, or extended household if you have formed one (subject to what is said about young children below).
Do the rules on organised outdoor activities still apply?
Outdoor gatherings no longer need to be organised by a business, a public body or charitable institution, a club, or the national governing body of sport or other activity. Social distancing should still be maintained between people who are not part of the same household (or extended household).
However, we have provided guidance for organised outdoor activities, such as team sports, where it is not always possible to maintain physical distancing. The guidance makes clear that all reasonable measures must be taken to mitigate any risks, and activities are overseen by each sport’s national governing body.
Those organising such events will generally have a duty of care to those attending the gathering, which means they should ensure the event is as safe as possible. We have also piloted some larger outdoor events for up to 100 people.
Are there circumstances in which gatherings of over 30 people are permitted?
There are some very limited circumstances where gatherings of over 30 people are permitted. For example, supervised recreation for children is a legitimate purpose for gatherings of more than 30 people. This includes childcare provision and summer camps. We have also piloted some larger outdoor events for up to 100 people.
Organising an unlicensed music event of more than 30 people is a specific criminal offence. These are events that are not licensed or otherwise authorised under the Licensing Act 2003. A breach of this prohibition is 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 of people coming together in large numbers, dancing, shouting or singing over loud music and not social distancing. Someone infectious attending an event like this can easily spread the virus to others, who then take it back to their family and friends.
Can friends or family from another extended household come into my home?
Not generally, no, unless they are passing through to reach an outdoor area, or they have another legitimate purpose for being there such as providing care. The general rule is that you can only meet socially with people who are in your exclusive extended household indoors.
This is part of the reason why we increased the number of households who can join an extended household.
Why do the rules say meetings can be outdoors but not indoors?
We are learning more about the virus every day and we know the risk of transmission is lower outdoors than indoors – the virus survives for minutes outdoors but can live for hours on surfaces indoors. However, lower risk outdoors doesn’t mean no risk. It is still vital for us all to be physical distancing.
If I meet a person from another extended household in their garden can I use their toilet?
You should try not to – the more we go into other people’s homes and touch things, the more the risk of spreading and/or contracting the virus. If you have to use facilities in another household (outside your extended household), the toilet and hand basin should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use. Hands should be washed thoroughly after use and hand towels should not be shared.
I am not part of an extended household with someone but I think they still need my care or support – 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 extended household and even if there are local restrictions in place which would otherwise stop you meeting them. This includes being indoors with them. You can also visit someone on compassionate grounds if necessary.
In particular, the law now makes clear that (where there are no local restrictions in place) indoor visits to care homes are permitted, as are visits to hospices and to secure accommodation facilities for children. These visits need to be made in accordance with the rules put in place by the setting you are visiting.
When considering whether there is a need to visit someone outside your extended household, especially indoors and especially when that means entering or leaving an area with local restrictions, 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 continuing restrictions is to prevent the spreading of the virus, including to those we care about.
What do you mean by compassionate grounds?
You may have compassionate reasons for visiting someone where that person is struggling with restrictions on meeting others generally or they may be suffering from a physical or mental illness, have suffered a bereavement or you may be concerned about their general wellbeing or welfare.
Other examples of things that may be permitted, include visits to people living or staying in supported living services, in children’s homes or young offender institutions. 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.
If you need to visit someone on compassionate grounds, you may do so even if this involves entering or leaving an area with local restrictions.
Do we still have to physically distance outdoors?
Yes, every effort should still be made to keep socially distant where practical.
People playing basketball or football, for example, will inevitably not remain 2 metres apart continually during a game. We have provided guidance for organised outdoor activities, such as team sports, where it is not always possible to maintain physical distancing but all reasonable measures are taken to mitigate any risks (such as avoiding shaking hands or hugging as greetings or for goal celebrations).
A similar principle applies when going to a barber or hairdresser – it is clearly not possible to maintain social distance while having the haircut itself, but it is possible before and afterwards. Doing that reduces the risk of spreading the virus.
What about children?
In circumstances where young children mix with others, it may not be practical to attempt to maintain continual 2 metre distancing (between children, or even between children and adults). This is in part because it is harder for younger children to understand the concept of physical distancing, and in part because appropriate support from carers will often require closer contact.
For young children (those of primary school age or younger), it is in any case less essential to attempt to rigidly maintain continual 2 metre distance between them, or between the children and any adults outside their household or extended household. 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.
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.
Can children visit each other’s homes or meet together indoors?
Like adults, children can only meet socially indoors with people who they live with (their household) and members of their extended household if they are part of one. So it is still not generally permitted to go into someone else’s home unless you have formed an extended household with them. It is also not permitted to arrange for children to go somewhere indoors together, such as shops, cafes, cinemas or amusement arcades, unless they are part of the same household or extended household. Indoor children’s parties with people other than members of their household or extended household are therefore still not possible.
However, adults and children can meet each other outdoors as part of gatherings of up to 30 people, and younger children do not need to rigidly follow the advice to stay 2 metres apart when doing so. So for example younger children can play together in a park or playground. Parents should encourage thorough hand washing before and after visits to the park and avoid eating/touching of face with unwashed hands.
Where are face coverings required?
Face coverings are required in all indoor public places and on public transport (including taxis). This includes a very wide range of locations, such as shops and shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers and salons, cinemas and museums, gyms and leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public. It also includes anywhere you go to eat or drink, like restaurants, pubs or cafés (until you are seated).
It also includes any public areas within buildings that are otherwise closed to the public – for example a reception area of an office building.
Are face coverings required in schools and childcare settings?
Schools and childcare settings are not public places. The decision about whether to require face coverings in secondary schools and in what areas they are worn is a local decision for the school or setting depending on their assessment of the risk and in the context of local circumstances.
Do I have to wear a face covering if I am buying or collecting take away food?
Yes. In a place where food and drink is only being served for consumption in part of the premises – for example, a restaurant which also offers take away services or a café in a museum – you need to wear a face covering in the parts of the premises where people are not eating or drinking.
Do I have to wear a face covering in my workplace?
There is no universal face coverings guidance for workplaces because of the variety of work environments in different industries. If you work in an indoor public area, you will definitely have to wear a face covering (unless you have a reasonable excuse not to).
However, if you work indoors, even if you do not work in a public area, your employer must consider whether to require staff to wear face coverings. Wearing face coverings will be necessary where physical distancing cannot be maintained, unless there are good 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.
Who does the requirement apply to?
The requirement applies to everyone aged 11 and over – including customers and staff. However, there are some limited exceptions which can be viewed in our guidance on face coverings.
Where the requirement applies to me, do I have to keep my face covering on at all times?
In general, yes, but you may have a reasonable excuse to remove a face covering temporarily if (for example) you need to take medicines or you need to eat or drink. For more explanation of when this is permitted, please see our guidance on face coverings.
What is a “face covering” and how should it be worn?
For the purpose of reducing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of three layers in a face covering.
For more information on different types of face covering, what protection they offer and how they should be worn and cared for, please visit our guidance page on face coverings.
How can I show that I am not required to wear a face covering?
Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. Disabilities and impairments are not always visible to others, such as neurodevelopmental conditions like autism and ADHD, and respect and understanding should be shown to those who have good reasons not to wear face coverings.
Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.
Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of a card, badge or even a home-made sign. A number of organisations have created cards that can be downloaded from their websites and printed, including the Welsh Government (face covering exemption card).
Carrying a card is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.
What kind of accommodation is open in Wales?
All accommodation can now open, but local restrictions mean that they should not accommodate people from outside the area unless they have a good reason to be there, such as working or attending a funeral. Measures must be in place to protect people from coronavirus.
Will there be any restrictions in the types of service they are offering?
Most services will be operating as normal, although face coverings will be required in public areas.
Can hotel restaurants and bars now open?
Can I take my caravan/motorhome to stay in a caravan park?
Yes, as long as there are no local restrictions preventing this. Parks are able to open their toilet, shower, pot wash and laundry areas for caravanners and campers, subject to measures being in place to ensure physical distancing and appropriate cleaning.
Can I go camping?
Yes, as long as there are no local restrictions preventing this. The toilet/shower blocks, pot wash and laundry areas for campers will also be open subject to measures being in place to ensure physical distancing and appropriate cleaning (on GOV.UK).
Who can I go on holiday with?
As long as there are no local restrictions where you live, you can currently go on holiday to anywhere else without local restrictions with the people you live with (members of your own household) or members of your extended household if you have agreed to form one. But if travelling as an extended household the group travelling together must be limited to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11).
This helps to reduce the risk of coronavirus being transmitted.
You should maintain social and physical distancing with people outside your own household/extended household.
If you live in an area with local restrictions, going on holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse to leave that area.
What attractions will be open and what will still be closed?
All visitor attractions are now able to open, although local restrictions may mean that some are only accessible by local residents. Measures to protect visitors, including social and physical distancing measures will be in place.
Can I go on holiday abroad?
Yes, if you do not live in area with local restrictions, but you should be aware that in returning to the UK you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days, if you have visited certain countries where this quarantine requirement is in force. Please read this guidance about who must self-isolate and what you must do.
Can I go on holiday in Wales?
There are some parts of Wales which are under local restrictions.
Travel into and out of these areas is only permitted by those with a “reasonable excuse” to do so – this includes going to work where you cannot work from home, or using public services that are not available locally. Going on holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.
Tourism is hugely important to Wales and there are no legal restrictions on people travelling to parts of Wales which are not under these local restrictions.
We are not telling people they shouldn’t come to these parts of Wales but we are asking people to think very carefully about making journeys. People should obviously not travel if they are unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus and it is really important to check for latest information about the area they are planning to travel to.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs and sale of alcohol
How are cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars be able to operate safely indoors?
There are a number of measures in place:
- most premises, including all premises selling alcohol, will be providing table service only
- all alcohol sales must stop by 10pm
- all food and drink should be consumed at tables
- you will be required to wear a face covering other than when seated to eat or drink
- physical distancing measures will be applied, such as tables being spaced out
- you will be asked to give contact details for purposes of tracing people in the event of an outbreak being linked to the venue
- there will be no live music and TV broadcasts will be kept at low volume
Who can I go to cafes, restaurants, pubs or bars with?
You are able to eat or drink outdoors with anyone, subject to any local restrictions, as long as the size of the group does not exceed 30 people. You should maintain physical distancing from anyone outside your household or extended household.
Indoors, you are only able to eat or drink with the people you live with (members of your own household) or members of your extended household if you have agreed to form one. Extended households are not allowed for people in areas with local restrictions. Even within your extended household, you can only eat or drink out as part of a group of up to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11).
Do I need to wear a face covering in cafes, restaurants, pubs or bars?
Yes. Customers entering and leaving restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and walking around these premises, and staff working at these premises are now also required to wear a face covering. Customers are allowed to remove face coverings when seated at a table to eat or drink.
Do I need to wear a face covering if I am collecting a take-away?
Yes, you do need to wear a face covering if you are buying and collecting food from a take-away or take-away area of a restaurant.
Are there limits on when I can buy alcohol?
Yes. From Thursday 24 September at 6pm, hospitality businesses in Wales – such as pubs, cafés, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos – have to stop selling alcohol at 10pm. Places selling alcohol to drink on the premises also have to provide table service only.
All places licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises need to close by 10.20pm.
Premises not licensed to sell alcohol do not need to close by 10.20pm.
Off-licenses, including supermarkets, have to stop selling alcohol at 10pm. This also applies to deliveries of alcohol, such as through a home delivery app.
Licensed premises and off-licenses cannot begin to sell alcohol again until 6am the next day.
Are there other venues which are required to stop selling alcohol at 10pm, other than pubs and bars?
Yes. The rule applies to restaurants and any other venues licensed to sell alcoholic drinks for consumption on their premises.
Do supermarkets and off licences have to stop selling alcoholic drinks after 10pm?
Yes. All off-licences, including supermarkets, have to stop selling alcohol at 10pm.
Can I get a drink in a restaurant after 10pm?
No – any restaurant licensed to sell alcoholic drinks is required to stop selling alcohol at 10pm.
Can I stand at the bar of a pub or bar and have a drink?
No. All hospitality businesses in Wales which sell alcohol – including pubs, cafes, restaurants and casinos – have to provide table service only.
Will I be able to have a food delivery from a supermarket, including alcohol, delivered to my home after 10pm?
On-line deliveries from supermarkets and other providers are allowed after 10pm but must not include alcohol.
Can I still order room service at a hotel after 10pm?
Yes, but you cannot be served alcohol.
Do businesses, such as coffee shops, that do not sell alcohol have to provide table service?
Do buffet style restaurants have to provide table service?
No, but all drinks have to be served by table service. A member of staff should serve people at the buffet rather than customers helping themselves and touching the same utensils.
Do premises that sell alcohol at airports and ports have to close by 10.20pm?
No, they are allowed to stay open but no alcohol can be served between 10pm and 6am.
Do cinemas have to close by 10.20pm?
No, they can stay open if a screening starts before 10.20pm to allow for that screening to finish, but no alcohol can be served after 10pm.
My university/work canteen is licensed, does it have to provide table service now?
No, workplace canteens and canteens in educational establishment can still operate counter service (but they must continue to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus). If they are licensed, no alcohol can be served after 10pm.
Will shielding be resuming?
There are no plans to resume shielding at this time.
When we initially advised people who are extremely vulnerable to take strict shielding measures at the start of the pandemic, the position was very different – there were no measures in any sector of society to reduce the spread of the virus and no rules or regulations in place. Now, with consistent measures in place, asking people to shield at home again is not the best option at this point in time as it could cause harm to people’s mental and physical health.
What is the latest advice to people who were shielding?
The advice for the shielded population is the same for everyone. You should keep contacts with other people to a minimum, keep a 2m distance from others, wash hands regularly, wear a face covering where required and avoid touching surfaces others have touched, wherever possible. Consider what time of day you go out and where you are visiting i.e. avoid visiting shops at peak times.
Where possible you should continue to work from home.
Collecting contact information
What businesses are required to collect contact information from visitors?
Any businesses operating in high risk settings are required to collect contact information. High risk settings include where customers and visitors will spend a long time on the premises, and/or potentially come into close contact with people outside of their household (or extended household if they have formed one).
Examples of high risk settings that we would expect to collect and retain contact information include:
- hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes
- close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists
- swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities
- bingo halls
Why are businesses being required to collect this information?
Collecting contact information helps to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic (i.e. are not yet displaying symptoms). Containing outbreaks is crucial to reducing the spread of coronavirus, protecting the NHS in Wales and saving lives. This will support the country in returning to, and maintaining, a more normal way of life.
What information will be collected from me?
The legal requirement is to collect the person’s name and information sufficient to enable the person to be contacted, to inform them that they may have been exposed to coronavirus at the premises (including a telephone number and the date and time at which the person was at the premises).
How do I know my personal data is safe and won’t be passed on without my wishes?
The General Data Protection Regulation places legal obligations on businesses handling your personal data, and guidance has also been provided to organisations collecting the data which draws on the work of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
For example, where the information would not otherwise have been collected and retained, your contact information must be securely disposed of or deleted after 21 days. Secure disposal means shredding paper documents instead of disposing in public bins, and ensuring permanent deletion of electronic files.
What happens if I don’t want to give my details?
If the venue you are trying to access is under a duty to collect your details and you are not willing to share them, you will not be allowed on the premises.
Travelling and public transport
Are there travel restrictions in place for people coming in to Wales?
As of 6pm on Friday 16 October, people who live in areas of high coronavirus infection rates across the UK are not allowed to travel to Wales unless it is for work, education or other essential purpose (a reasonable excuse). The areas this applies to are:
- Tier 2 areas in England
- Tier 3 areas in England
- The central belt of Scotland
- All of Northern Ireland
The full list of areas are available on the above links.
Travel to those areas of Wales with local restrictions is already prohibited (and this applies to all, whether living in Wales or not).
Do the new travel restrictions also prevent me travelling from Wales into any of these areas?
Yes – the restrictions work both ways. So, for example, travel between Pembrokeshire and Merseyside is not allowed in either direction without a reasonable excuse.
What exceptions are there to this general ban?
People may still travel if they have a reasonable excuse to do so. This includes going to work where you cannot work from home or if you have caring responsibilities.
For more detail on what is a reasonable excuse, you can visit any of our pages on local restrictions in different areas of Wales, and read about the different circumstances in which it is permitted for residents of those areas to leave their area.
Can I go into an extended household with a household in England?
Yes, if you live in a part of Wales where extended households are still permitted, but the arrangements need to comply with the rules in both countries. The rules that apply in England are available here.
However, if the household in England is in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area (see above) then travel between the households is not permitted without a reasonable excuse, so in practice your extended household arrangement will be suspended while those local restrictions remain in place.
Are there travel restrictions in place in Wales?
There are some parts of Wales which are under local restrictions. Travel into and out of these areas under local restrictions is limited to essential travel only. This means you cannot travel into or out of an area under local restrictions for a holiday.
People who live somewhere with no local restrictions in place are free to travel to anywhere else that has no local restrictions. That includes going on holiday inside or outside Wales.
However, we are asking everyone to think carefully about the journeys they take and the people they meet. We should all think carefully about where we go and who we meet because the more places we go and the more people we meet, the greater the chances there are of catching coronavirus and spreading it.
Can I travel in or out of an area with local restrictions to allow my child to participate in an organised activity?
Yes. Participating in organised activities for children is a reasonable excuse for leaving or entering an area with local restrictions. However, you should only do so if you can’t reasonably be expected to do this inside your local area.
What is an organised activity for children?
Organised activities for children are activities arranged by a responsible body, for example, a business, public body, charity or club for people aged under 18. The activity must take place in a regulated setting such as community centres and leisure centres. The activity must not take place in people’s homes or gardens. The organiser of the activity is responsible for completing a risk assessment and putting in place all reasonable measures to prevent infection and the spread of coronavirus.
This could include:
- Activities for the development or wellbeing of children. For example, sports and recreational activities.
- Activities provided outside of school hours and during school holidays. For example, after school clubs.
Children’s parties are not allowed to be held as part of these activities.
Where are face coverings required while travelling?
Wearing face coverings on public transport – including buses, trains, trams, taxis, boats and aeroplanes – is a legal requirement. Everyone aged 11 or over travelling on public transport needs to wear a face covering.
They are not compulsory in private vehicles such as your own car.
Do I have to wear a face covering in train stations, at bus stops or anywhere else where I am not on board a vehicle?
As of 14 September, you are required to wear face coverings in the indoor parts of bus stations, train stations, airports and sea ports. You do not have to wear a face covering on an enclosed train platform or bus stop, but we advise you to do so if you are unable to maintain social distancing.
Do I need a covering if I am just stepping onto a vehicle, for example if I am just helping carry someone’s luggage onto a train?
The legal requirement applies to passengers only, but if the train is busy we advise you to wear a face covering if you are helping someone.
Do I have to wear face coverings in taxis?
Yes. This is to protect everyone in the taxi as you will all be in close proximity to each other for the duration of the journey.
Do I have to wear a face covering on a ferry?
In most cases, no. Face coverings on ferries are only required when you are in an area that is partly or wholly undercover and 2 metre distancing cannot be maintained with people outside your household (or extended household if you have one).
But face coverings will be required on smaller boats where it is not possible to maintain 2 metre social distancing.
Will my child need to wear a face covering on public transport?
Children must wear a face covering if they are 11 or over unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, such as a disability or suffering from breathing difficulties. More information on circumstances in which face coverings are not required is available at the “Reasonable Excuses” section of our guidance on face coverings on public transport.
Please make sure they’re wearing an appropriate sized face covering to make sure it provides the necessary protection.
For hidden disabilities, the sunflower lanyard can also discreetly show people including staff and fellow passengers that additional help and support may be needed.
What kind of face covering do I have to wear?
We advise people to wear a face covering made up of three layers of a close knit, or close woven material such as cotton from a t-shirt or pillowcase. Read further guidance about face coverings, including about how to make your own.
Are there any other people who don’t have to wear face coverings?
Some people may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering on public transport – for example if they have a medical reason or a disability, which means they are unable to put on, wear or remove a face covering. Read more guidance on people who may not have to wear face coverings.
Are there situations when I can temporarily remove my covering?
Yes, people may have a reasonable excuse to do this. Examples of these situations include:
- To communicate with someone who has difficulty communicating, such as a lip reader;
- In an emergency, for example to get someone’s attention;
- To take medication if this can’t be avoided.
Read about the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in Wales.
Can I remove my face covering to eat and drink?
You can do this if it is reasonable and if eating and drinking is allowed on the public transport you are taking. Examples of situations where this is likely to be allowed include if you are on a long journey or it is hot. Some people such as diabetics may also need to eat or drink more often. However, you should remove your face covering for as little time as possible.
Why don’t transport workers have to wear face coverings?
Transport workers do not normally have to remain in close proximity with the same people for significant periods of time, unlike passengers on many forms of transport. However, transport operators are required to take all reasonable measures to keep passengers and staff safe. This may mean providing screens, for example, between a bus driver and passengers but it could also mean transport workers wearing face coverings.
How are these rules enforced?
Drivers, guards and other operators of public transport may tell passengers not to board if they are not wearing a face covering. Ignoring an instruction like this is itself an offence. If necessary, the police can be involved, and passengers who don’t comply could be made to get off a vehicle.
Fixed penalty notices can also be issued, carrying a fine of £60 for a first offence; this is increased to £120 for a second offence and continues to double for repeated offences, up to a maximum of £1,920.
We hope people understand the severity of the situation we are facing and will comply with the regulations, without enforcement action being taken.
Can I car share or give someone a lift?
It is best to avoid sharing a car with another person outside your household (or extended household if you have one) if possible. If you do share a car, please stay as far apart as possible within the car and keep windows open. You can follow this guidance on travelling safely.
Can I now have driving lessons?
Yes. Following the suspension of the driving test and lessons in March, driving lessons resumed on Monday 27 July in Wales to give learners the chance to practise before the driving test restarts.
Can I still use Cardiff Airport even though there are restrictions on who can enter the local area?
Yes. Cardiff Airport remains open, because it is a transport hub and it is a legitimate pass through location for people. However for residents of areas with local restrictions, a holiday is not a legitimate reason for travel, so holidaymakers from areas with local restrictions should not be using the airport to fly. People from other areas, people travelling for work or those with another legitimate reason for travel can continue to use the airport.
Shopping and entertainment
What shops are open?
All retail shops can open, if they can comply with the physical distancing duty in Welsh law. People should avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces, particularly indoors.
Can I now travel as far as I want to go to the shops?
Yes, if you do not live in an area with local restrictions, but you should not travel into any such areas for shopping purposes unless you have a good reason to. People are also still advised to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces, particularly indoors.
Can I go shopping with my friends?
Meeting with people from outside your household or extended household for shopping is only allowed outdoors while maintaining physical distancing, as the risk of transmission of the virus is much greater indoors.
Indoor shopping should only be done alone or with people in your household or extended household (if you have formed one). Extended households are not allowed for people in areas with local restrictions. Even within your extended household, you can only shop indoors as part of a group of up to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11). You will also need to wear a face covering.
What if I have been shielding, can I go to the shops?
Yes, the advice to shield has been paused so you no longer need to avoid all shops. However, you should still be very careful so should shop at quieter times, should make sure you maintain a 2m distance from others and wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly.
What entertainment venues are still closed?
Theatres and concert halls, nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues are still required to be closed. We have published guidance for the phased re-opening of culture and heritage destinations, which includes guidance for the re-opening of theatres and concert halls when conditions allow.
Skating rinks will be permitted to reopen from 3 October.
Close contact services
What guidance is in place for beauty salons?
Our guidance is kept under review and we recommend that the industry continues to refer to our website for the most recent version. We continue to work with the beauty industry to ensure the guidance is clear and reflects appropriate ways of working’
When providing close contact services it is generally not possible to maintain physical distancing. As a result most service providers will need to wear some form of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as a visor. You will also need to wear a face covering, and will be expected to provide contact details.
Are some things not allowed in beauty salons?
We expect all reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus. This means physical distancing and limiting face to face interaction, and improved hygiene (cleaning and sharing of equipment, hand washing and respiratory hygiene etc.)
There is strong public health advice against undertaking some form of treatments, because of the close facial contact required between client and practitioner. The areas in question are listed in the guidance - close contact services businesses. As a reasonable measure, we advise that they should not take place unless appropriate training has been undertaken and suitable protective equipment can be worn.
The guidance (close contact services businesses) has been updated to ensure businesses are fully aware of the safety measures required.
What guidance is in place for massage, acupuncture and electrolysis services?
As with beauty salons, we have worked with providers to provide clear guidance on appropriate ways of working. The guidance has been updated to ensure businesses are fully aware of the safety measures required. You will be expected to provide contact details.
What measures are in place to make it safe for massage, acupuncture and electrolysis services to reopen?
As with beauty salons, we have worked with providers to ensure there will be clear guidance on appropriate ways of working.
We strongly advise that treatments on the face do not take place at this time unless appropriate training has been undertaken and suitable protective equipment can be worn. You will be expected to provide contact details.
Can I have any of these treatments in my home?
Yes, but with the same limitations as above on the services they provide. People providing these services have been advised to speak to their clients before arrival to discuss the steps required to safely provide close contact services in the home.
Can I go for any of these treatments with my friends?
Other than taking children or accompanying a vulnerable adult, we would prefer customers attend their booking appointment on their own where possible to make it easier to maintain social distancing. 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.
My hairdresser is open, can they now provide other services such as doing my nails?
Yes, it is now possible for salons to provide multiple types of services. But again we strongly advise that treatments on the face should not take place at this time.
Can spas open?
Spas were able to reopen from 27 July but only to provide beauty and wellbeing or holistic treatments. We strongly advise that treatments on the face are not provided at this time. From 10 August, Spas are now able to open their pools as well, but not saunas and steam rooms. Full advice is available in the section on leisure centres and swimming pools.
What guidance is in place for tattooists and body piercing services?
We have worked with the industry to ensure there will be clear guidance on appropriate ways of working.
Clearly, when providing close contact services it is generally not possible to maintain social distancing. As a result, service providers will need to wear personal protective equipment and you will need to wear a face covering. You will also be expected to provide contact details.
We are strongly advising against tattooing and tattoo removal on the face, and piercings on the tongue, mouth, lip, nose, brow or cheek.
Sport and outdoor activity
Can sport, leisure and recreation facilities remain open?
Yes, as long as they can maintain all the safety requirements to protect people from the risk of contracting coronavirus. Gyms and leisure centres have to put measures in place to ensure social distancing, good hygiene, the wearing of face coverings (where appropriate), and a gathering of people exercising or playing sport together must not exceed 30 people. They may also need to stop certain activities where people are in close contact because the risk of spreading the virus in the area is higher.
Do the restrictions for indoor meetings of more than 6 people apply to sports facilities?
No. Playing sport or exercising is a reasonable excuse to gather in a group of up to 30 people.
Are group exercise classes still allowed even with more than 6 people?
Yes. Exercise classes are able to run, but class sizes should be as kept as small as possible, having regard to the size of the room and 2m physical distancing. We expect all reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus. This means physical distancing and limiting face to face interaction, and improved hygiene (cleaning and sharing of equipment, hand washing and respiratory hygiene etc.) As a result some classes may not be able to resume at present.
Do I need to wear a face covering when I exercise in a leisure centre or gym?
As gyms and leisure centres are indoor public places, you will need to wear a face covering when you go there and you will need to keep it on depending on what you are doing. If you are preparing to exercise, changing or undertaking any activity that isn’t strenuous, especially when in close contact with other people, you will need to wear a face covering.
However, there may be circumstances where the layout of the premises and the nature of the exercise you are doing mean that it would not be reasonable to expect you to wear a face covering. The World Health Organisation advises against wearing a face covering when exercising as sweat can make a face covering become wet more quickly, making it difficult to breathe and promoting the growth of microorganisms. It advises the important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance from others.
As part of the measures the operator of the gym or leisure centre will need to put in place to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, they will need to consider when wearing a face covering would not be appropriate and what mitigating action may be needed. They will be expected to give you further information about the systems put in place and what you will be expected to do.
Do both staff and the public have to wear coverings in a leisure centre or gym?
Yes. Staff working in areas of indoor premises which are open to the public are also required by law to wear face coverings while they are in those areas, subject to the same exceptions which apply to customers.
What measures are in place to make it safe for leisure centres and swimming pools to be open?
The Welsh Government published guidance to help facilities operators prepare for the safe management of indoor and outdoor facilities in June. Since then we have worked in partnership with Sport Wales, the Welsh Sport Association, governing bodies such as Swim Wales and the sector, to ensure that guidance will support the safe reopening of leisure facilities and swimming pools in Wales. Leisure operators have also agreed to share best practice and lessons learned with each other when they reopen, to benefit everyone who works in and attends their facilities.
All facilities eligible to re-open will have to ensure these guidelines are followed and must conduct risk assessments to ensure their facilities and the activities they offer are safe. We expect all reasonable measures to be taken to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus. This means physical distancing and limiting face to face interaction, and improved hygiene (cleaning and sharing of equipment, hand washing and respiratory hygiene etc.). As a result some training activities may not be able to resume at present and saunas and steam rooms should not open. You will be expected to provide contact details.
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. 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 the re-opening of parks 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, not eating or drinking in parks, 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 I move home?
Yes. This includes moving into or out of an area with local restrictions. We recommend that if the property you are moving to has not been empty for at least three days that it is thoroughly cleaned before you enter it. More information is available at moving home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Are there any remaining restrictions on home viewings and other housing market transactions?
No. The restrictions on viewing occupied properties were lifted on Monday 27 July and prospective buyers and tenants can now make appropriate arrangements with landlords, agents or property owners to view properties. However, if viewing homes will require you to enter or leave an area with local restrictions, we would ask you to first consider if there are viable alternatives such as virtual viewings or asking someone to view the property on your behalf.
Can a mortgage survey now be done at my property?
Yes. Estate agents, surveyors or removal workers are allowed into a property. They need to follow the physical distancing in the workplace guidance.
Places of worship, marriages and civil partnerships, cemeteries and funerals
What are the rules for religious services?
Places of worship can open for communal worship, although those responsible for the place of worship are under a duty to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus and to provide information to people who attend about how they can minimise the risk. Ceremonies can also be held either as part of communal worship or as events in their own right. People will be expected to observe physical distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene.
If a place of worship is too small to safely admit a congregation, it might be able to arrange a larger gathering of up to 30 participants outdoors with appropriate measures in place.
Do I have to wear a face covering when attending a religious service?
Yes, places of worship are indoor public places and so the requirements will apply there as in other public place. We consider that those leading worship or a ceremony may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if they cannot effectively do so while wearing one, as long as they have taken other sufficient mitigations such as staying continually over 2 metres away from others and wearing a visor.
Are all potential wedding or civil partnership ceremony venues now open?
Yes, all premises that are licenced to conduct a solemnisation of marriage or the formation of civil partnerships can now open for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. However this is subject to the need to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on the premises.
Are there limits to the number of people who can attend ceremonies?
The number who will be able to attend a ceremony indoors will be limited by the capacity of the venue where it is being held, once physical distancing measures have been taken into account. It is not affected by the general restriction on gatherings of above six people, and people are allowed to enter or leave areas with local restrictions to attend ceremonies (but not receptions).
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.
Are face coverings required in wedding and civil partnership ceremonies?
Guests will need to wear coverings, but given the importance to couples of the ceremony and the level of risk involved, we consider it is reasonable for the couple to remove their coverings for a kiss, for taking vows and for a “first dance”, as long as other measures are in place to protect people attending the ceremony from the risk of contracting coronavirus, for example, guests staying 2m away from the couple at all times.
What are the rules on holding receptions?
A reception for up to 30 people can take place outdoors or, where the wedding takes place on or after 22 August, indoors. Where the reception takes place indoors, it will need to take place in regulated premises (such as pubs, restaurants, hotels or community centres) and there are limits on the type of activity that can take place – for example loud music should not be played, and any food provided should be served at the table rather than at a buffet.
For more information, please see our guidance on holding wedding receptions.
In areas with local restrictions, attendance is limited to residents of that area. If the reception takes place in areas without local restrictions, people from areas with local restrictions will not be able to attend.
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. Funerals are not covered by the general restriction on gatherings of above six people, and people are allowed to enter or leave areas with local restrictions to attend funerals (but not wakes or other forms of gathering following a funeral).
Can I hold a wake or another form of gathering following a funeral?
A gathering of up to 30 people can take place for these purposes. If it is indoors, then the gathering will need to take place in regulated premises (such as funeral directors, pubs, restaurants, hotels or community centres) and there are limits on the type of activity that can take place – for example loud music should not be played, and any food provided should be served at the table rather than at a buffet.
More detail on what is permitted is included in our guidance on funerals.
In areas with local restrictions, attendance is limited to residents of that area. If the gathering takes place in areas without local restrictions, people from areas with local restrictions will not be able to attend.
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.
Obligations on businesses and owners of premises
The requirements for businesses to keep people 2 metres apart have been changed – what does this mean?
Businesses, and other premises open to the public, must continue to take all reasonable measures to keep people 2 metres apart whether on, or waiting to enter, premises, other than those who are in the same household or extended household.
However, as more types of businesses and premises reopen, we have introduced additional requirements that businesses must also take in order to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
These include maintaining hygiene standards and limiting close face-to-face interaction, wherever reasonable. We have also introduced a duty to provide information to those entering or working on premises about how to minimise exposure.
These duties need to be met whether or not reasonable measures can be taken to ensure 2 metres distance between people.
Where it is not reasonable for 2 metres to be kept, then anyone subject to the duty will be required to take other measures to minimise risk, which might include putting physical barriers in place or rearranging the layout and furniture to minimise close face-to-face contact. More guidance on measures that should be taken is available here.
Working from home is no longer a legal requirement – does that mean my employer can require me to go back to the office?
Working from home where possible remains a legal requirement in areas subject to local restrictions.
In the rest of the country, we continue to advise people to work from home unless there is a clear business need for them to return to a workplace setting. Employers are also under a duty to take all reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus, which will include ensuring they do not require staff to return to workplaces in the absence of a clearly demonstrated business need.
Enforcement and fines
Who enforces the restrictions?
The restrictions are being enforced by local authority environmental health officers and the police.
What can 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 now 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. 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.