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

First published:
16 July 2021
Last updated:

Introduction

Wales will move into full alert level 1 from Saturday 17 July 2021. We recognise the importance of what is happening in other parts of the UK and are working very closely with the other nations. It is important to understand that the rules here in Wales are different.

Regardless of your country of residence for everyone living, working or visiting Wales it is important that we all follow the current guidance and rules that apply here in Wales.

The Coronavirus restrictions in place are kept under constant review.

This guidance applies to Wales. For the rules or guidance in the other parts of the UK, please visit the sites for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

What happens if I do not 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 all have a personal responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and others and so we ask you to think carefully about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking about what the law allows you to do.

Where you breach the law, you may be instructed 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.

Social distancing

You should consider the risk of catching COVID-19, or passing it on, before visiting places attended by others or meeting people you do not live with. Whilst no situation is risk-free, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and to make meeting family and friends safer you should maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Key messages

  • COVID-19 hasn’t gone away – although restrictions have been relaxed, you should still exercise caution, even if you have been vaccinated.
  • Keeping your distance from people you don’t normally mix with remains one of the most effective ways of controlling the risk of spread of COVID-19.Keep your distance from other people who are not part of your household, extended household or permitted group of six people – stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others when outdoors and in enclosed spaces outside the home setting.
  • Businesses are legally required to take reasonable measures to ensure physical distancing indoors and may include measure for physical distancing outdoors
  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include high temperature, or new and continuous cough, or loss of or change to sense of smell or taste.
  • Wash your hands regularly and well, or use hand sanitiser if you can’t use soap and water.
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport, when possible. Face coverings must be worn on all public transport.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • All employers and premises that allow the public into to their premises have to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.  This may include social distancing and wearing face coverings.  Always co-operate with any social distancing, handwashing or other measures that are in place for your own safety and that of others.
  • Avoid large gatherings in public spaces, where there are no reasonable measures in place as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.

You must:

  • observe physical distancing, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others who are not part of your household or your permitted group of six in indoor public premises;
  • always wear a face covering in indoor public places, on public transport or in other indoor places unless exempt.

You are strongly advised:

  • to meet outdoors rather than indoors with anyone who is not part of your extended household or your group of six, remember it is safer to stay outdoors;
  • to work from home if you can;
  • to observe physical distancing, stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from others who are not part of your household or extended household outdoors.

You must:

Self- isolate at home if you, anyone you live with, or anyone in your extended household has:

  • symptoms of COVID-19, and the person with symptoms should also book a test
  • tested positive for COVID-19

Anyone who is contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team because they have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must also self-isolate at home.

Face coverings

What are the rules for wearing face covering in indoor public places?

Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places. This also applies 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.

What are the rules for wearing face Coverings in indoor areas of hospitality settings?

Face coverings must be worn at all times when moving about the premises. This includes whist going to the toilets, playing pool, snooker or darts etc. You can, however, remove your face covering whilst seated at your table.

Are there any exemptions from wearing 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. 

What are the rules for face coverings in education and childcare settings?

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

Face coverings should also be worn by all learners in year 7 and above when travelling on school or dedicated home to college transport.

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

For more information, please refer to the schools or college guidance.

There is no specific requirement for face coverings to be worn in childcare settings, though settings may want to ask parents and other visitors to the setting to wear them.  Where a setting is based on a school site they should adhere with the requirements in place across the school estate.  For more information, please see the protective measures guidance for childcare settings.  

What are the rules for face coverings in workplaces?

If you work in an area open to the public you must wear a face covering.

If your work place is not open to the public, your employer will advise you as they must undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measure to minimise exposure to and spread of coronavirus. The risk assessment and mitigations should be shared with you, which could include the requirement to wear a face covering.

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

Extended households

What are the rules on extended households?

Your household is able to join together with up to two other households to form an extended household. This means you can spend time with them in your home or in their home. This includes staying overnight in each other’s homes. A household may only agree to be treated as being in 1 extended household at any one time.

Please see guidance on gathering with other people to see the rules on who can be in an extended household, how to choose who to form one with and how it works for people with different types of living arrangements.

A fourth household (known as a wellbeing household in the Regulations) can join an extended household in limited circumstances.  The following households can join three other households to form an extended household:

  • a household with an adult living alone
  • a household with a single responsible adult*
  • a household where you are 16 or 17 living alone or with others of the same age, with no adult

For more information on extended households, please see our guidance on gathering with other people.

*For example, if Laura lives with her parents and acts as a carer for them, and also has two young children living with her, she is effectively the sole responsible adult in the household. Her household would therefore be able to join a support bubble with three other households of any kind.

Regulated premises

What are regulated premises?

Regulated premises are:

  • the premises of any business or service open to the public, including but not limited to retail premises, museums, theatres, concert halls, gyms, leisure and fitness facilities, community centres,  close contact service premises, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants, registry offices, places of worship and libraries
  • public transport vehicles, including taxis, trains and buses
  • any building where work is carried out, including factories and office buildings

Gathering outdoors

What are the rules for gathering outdoors?

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk.

Businesses must also continue to undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus in premises open to the public or staff members.

The Test, Trace and Protect system will continue to support the easing of social and economic restrictions. It will also be important in identifying local outbreaks and Variants of Concern.

Outdoor organised activities and events

These types of activities and events must be organised by a business, public body or a charitable, benevolent, educational or philanthropic institution, a club or political organisation, or the national governing body of a sport or other activity.

Organised activities encompass a broad range of activities. These activities include small scale activities, including, but is not limited to:

  • team sports
  • exercise classes
  • meetings of religious groups and support groups
  • guided tours
  • running groups
  • car boot sales
  • fetes
  • celebrations, including wedding and civil partnerships receptions, wakes and other life events

Events also encompass a broad range of larger scale activities, including but is not limited to:

  • live music concerts, and other cultural events
  • food Festivals
  • sporting tournaments

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions in place on numbers when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk

The organiser of the activity also have a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. The risk assessment must also consider ‘pinch point’ areas, such as, queuing to enter or exit the venue, toilets, food and beverage sales points and consider suitable mitigations, including physical distancing measures in these areas.

Businesses and premises will still be required to consider putting in place social distancing for different groups and/or for face-coverings being worn in all or some specific areas as part of their risk management regime. The risk assessment and mitigating reasonable measures these venues and premises may need to implement will determine if and where this may be the case. You should always co-operate with any social distancing, handwashing or other measures that are in place for your own safety and that of others.

Please do not be offended if you are asked to keep a distance from others at a particular premises. You can still exercise your own personal choice to distance if that is what you want to do. If other people want to keep their distance, you should respect their choice also.

Gathering indoors

What are the rules on gathering indoors?

Private dwellings, and travel and holiday accommodation

Members of your extended household, or  a maximum of six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present) or two households can meet indoors and stay overnight in private homes and travel and holiday accommodation.

Houses of multiple occupation (HMOs)

Houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) are made up of separate households within a shared building. If you live within a shared building you can be in an extended household with one other household from outside of the shared home.

If you share facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens with other people, you do not need to enter into an extended household with those people in order to be in the same room as them. However, as an absolute maximum you should do so in groups of up to six people at a time, not including any children aged under 11 that live there.

Hospitality venues (such as café, restaurants, pubs, and bars)

You can visit indoor hospitality venues such as cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars with people you live with or in a group of up to six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present). This group of six isn’t required by law  to socially distance from each other. However, you should maintain social distancing from others in the venue who are not in your household or your group of six.

If you visit hospitality venues indoors with people you do not live with, but who are part of your extended household, that gathering must include no more than six people from up to six households at any one time (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present).

Care homes

Routine indoor care home visits can take place, and up to two indoor visitors may visit at the same time. All visitors should be tested prior to an indoor visit and rapid testing has been made available to care homes to facilitate this.

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

Residence who wish to leave the home to visit others or for trips out should be supported to do so.  

We expect and encourage providers to facilitate indoor visits and visits out of the care home where possible and do so in a risk managed way.  You should contact the care home provider before travelling to arrange to visit.

Routine visits will be temporarily suspended in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at the home.  Visits in exceptional circumstances can continue to take place including, but not restricted to, end of life.

For more information, please see the care home guidance.

Hospital visitation

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.

Clinically extremely vulnerable

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and on the shielding patient list should follow the guidance issued to this group.

Domestic residential activities for children and young people

Domestic residential activities trips that utilise single household occupancy accommodation have been permitted since 17 May 2021.

Residential educational activities that utilise shared accommodation (such as mixed household dormitories) are now also permitted for primary school children. Primary school groups staying together overnight should be limited to school contact groups/bubbles.

Out-of-school organisations including, but not limited to, Brownies, Scouts, and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions are also now permitted. These groups can organise domestic residential visits for children and young people between the ages of 11 – 18 in consistent groups of up to 30 people, who can stay overnight together.

Organisers have a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to and the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, risk assessments should consider the space available to allow  physical distancing as far as is possible with children.

Indoor organised activities and events

What are the rules for indoor organised activities and events?

These types of activities and events must be organised by a business, public body or a charitable, benevolent, educational or philanthropic institution, a club or political organisation, or the national governing body of a sport or other activity.

Organised activities encompass a broad range of activities. These activities include small scale activities, including, but is not limited to:

  • team sports
  • exercise classes
  • meetings of religious groups and support groups
  • guided tours
  • running groups
  • table top/jumble sales
  • fetes
  • celebrations, including wedding and civil partnerships receptions, wakes and other life events

Events also encompass a broad range of larger scale activities, including but is not limited to:

  • live music concerts, and other cultural events
  • food festivals
  • sporting tournaments

The organiser of the activity must meet requirements in the regulations to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measure must also include ensuring that physical distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in those permitted groups during the activity or event.

The risk assessment must also consider ‘pinch point’ areas, such as, queuing to enter or exit the venue, toilets, food and beverage sales points and consider suitable mitigations, including physical distancing measures in these areas.

When taking part in this type of activity or event, with your individual household (those you live with) or as a group of six people you should maintain physical distance from others not in your household or group of six (as the case may be).

Indoors

If this type of activity or event  is taking place indoors, the maximum number of people that can take part is 200 standing and 1,000 seated (unless it is one for the development or well-being of children).. Maximums numbers will be determined by a risk assessment which includes taking reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measures must also include ensuring social distancing can be maintained between individual households or groups of six (as the case may be).

Outdoors

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any limits on numbers in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

However, the organiser of the activity has a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Organised activities solely for the development and well-being of children and young people are allowed indoors and outdoors. This includes sports clubs, parent and toddler groups, youth groups and religious groups. This applies to children aged under 18. 

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

There are no caps on numbers for this type of activity, however the maximum numbers permitted for each will be determined by a risk assessment which includes taking reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.  Risk assessments should consider the space available to allow  physical  distancing as far as is possible with children and limit the number of children that can attend.

What are the rules for activities and events planned by an individual in private dwellings or on private land?

Activities or events that are organised or planned by an individual (such as a couple getting married, friend or parent), including celebrations or wider social gatherings of families and friends indoors, must follow the arrangements for gathering with other people, which is limited to members of an individual household, extended household or up to six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 or carers of these households) in private dwellings.  

If you wish to gather with more people to celebrate or socialise indoors, you can only do so in a regulated premise. The business must then complete a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measure must include ensuring that social distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in these permitted groups during the activity or event.

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any limits on numbers in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

If you are organising your celebration in an outdoor area of a regulated premises, the business has a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus, the result of which could however impose a cap on numbers.

Places of worship and major life events

What are the rules for places of worship?

Places of worship are allowed to be open to the public for worship and life event ceremonies. 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 and bat mitzvahs and baptisms are permitted in places of worship. People are able to attend at the invitation of the organiser. Please see the guidance on funeralsguidance on weddings and places of worship for more information.

What are the rules for wedding, civil partnership ceremonies, funerals and other religious life events?

Wedding, civil partnership ceremonies, funerals and other religious life events can take place indoors or outdoors. Face masks must be worn in all indoor premises.

The number who are able to attend a wedding, civil partnership, funeral 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 for Wedding, civil partnership receptions and wakes?

These are permitted both indoors and outdoors and if organised by a business or held in regulated premises, the general rules for organised activities and events apply

Wedding or civil partnership receptions and wakes not organised by a business but held on private land i.e. organised by an individual (the couple, family member or friend)

If held at a private dwelling:

  • indoors – only members of the household, extended household or up to six people from up to six households can gather; or
  • outdoors – there are no longer any restrictions on gathering outdoors 

A marquee situated outside, which does not have more than 50% open sides is regarded by the law as indoors. If it has more than 50% open sides it is outdoors.

Whilst limits on numbers have been removed for outdoor gatherings, it is still advised that you  maintain physical distancing from anyone you do not live with or who are not part of your extended household and should avoid sharing or using the same items as people outside your household or extended household, for example plates, cups, food packages towels, blankets etc. Any item that is passed between people in different households will increase the risk of the spread of the virus.

If the wedding, civil partnership or wake is held outdoors in a private dwelling, including a garden, people may enter the house for the purpose of using the toilet, but should keep the amount of time indoors to a minimum. They should only be permitted to enter the house for this purpose one at a time (or with a care giver, if assistance is required because of age or ability).

Householders should keep any toilet/bathroom windows open and clean toilet and bathroom facilities thoroughly and regularly, preferably after each use. Towels should not be shared if at all possible and should be changed regularly.  Children should be helped to use the toilet and wash their hands thoroughly (according to their age and abilities), and all adults, should wash their hands thoroughly before and after assisting children. Older children and young people should be reminded regularly of the importance of washing their hands thoroughly and often and not touching their face.

Public transport, taxi and private hire, car share

What are the rules for public transport?

Face coverings must be worn on all enclosed public transport vehicles including buses, taxis, coaches, trains, ferries and aircraft (where they take off or land in Wales). Please check the latest service information before you travel.

Face coverings must also be worn at all stations, railway stations, airports and ferry ports and 2 metre social distancing should be observed.

Those responsible for the public transport service must meet requirements in the regulations to undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Reasonable measures must also include ensuring that social distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in these permitted groups whilst using their transport services.

Whilst using public transport with your individual household (those you live with) or as a group of six people you should maintain social distancing from others not in your household or group of six (as the case may be).

For more information about travelling safely, please see our guidance for travelling safely (coronavirus).

What are the rules for Taxi and private hire vehicles?

Face coverings must be worn in taxis.

Those responsible for taxi and private hire vehicles must meet requirements in the regulations to undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Reasonable measures must also include ensuring that social distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in these permitted groups whilst using their services. Whilst using taxi and private hire vehicles with your individual household (those you live with) or as a group of six people you should maintain social distancing from others not in your household or group of six (as the case may be).

What are the rules around car sharing?

We do not recommend that you share a car with people who are not part of your household or extended household 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.

Self-Isolation

What are the rules around self-isolation?

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

People who have tested positive or have come in to close contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus are 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).

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

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

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

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

You will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

Support is available to people who have to self-isolate

People 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 or the NHS COVID-19 App 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.

People can also apply to their local authority for a discretionary payment if they are unable to work from home and are losing income and facing financial hardship. Parents and carers of children who have been asked to self-isolate through their education setting are also able to apply. 

The Self-Isolation Payment scheme has been live since 16 November 2020. People are able to apply for the payments via their local authority website and claims must be made within 21 days of the period of self-isolation ending. 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?

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 there is no reason why you cannot do so when you are self-isolating 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  up to 10 days or more 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?

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.

Working from home

What are the rules for working from home?

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

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

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

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

Financial support for business

What financial support is available to businesses?

A further package of support has been announced, targeted at businesses that continue to be materially affected by Covid-19 restrictions on their operations and will provide emergency and transition grants of up to £25k to eligible businesses to help meet their operating costs (excluding staff wages) for the period 1 July 2021 and 31 August 2021. 

The Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) will support businesses that are either:

  1. Forced to remain closed or unable to trade by on-going restrictions between 1st July 2021 and 31st August 2021.
  2. Event space and attractions severely impacted by ongoing social distancing regulations.
  3. Other businesses which were unable to open indoors before 17 May 2021, with >60% impact on turnover as a result of ongoing restrictions.
  4. A supply chain business that generates 60% or more of its sales revenue from businesses falling into categories a), b) and/or c).

And (applies to all):

  1. Have experienced a severe impact through reduced turnover of 60% or more in July and August 2021 as compared to July and August 2019 caused directly by on-going COVID-19 restrictions.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with local authorities. The Welsh Government delivering the grant support for businesses with an annual turnover of above £85k and Local Authorities for businesses with an annual turnover below £85k.

An eligibility checker detailing how much businesses with be eligible to apply for and details on how to apply was made available on the Business Wales website from 12pm on 5 July.

Eligible businesses will need to submit a simple online application and declaration to apply even if they have received funding through previous rounds of ERF. The eligibility checker will direct businesses to the right place to make their application.

The application stage will opened on 13 July and will remain open until 12pm Tuesday 27 July.

This will be the final package of emergency support for those that are able to trade, unless the pandemic causes us to re-introduce closures or very significant trading restrictions.

Over £610m in non-domestic rates relief in 2021-22 has been provided. All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2021-22.  This means that, in total, over 70,000 Welsh businesses will pay no rates at all for the year.

Read the guidance on the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief scheme.

On 23 February - an additional £270m for the Development Bank of Wales’ Flexible Investment Fund was announced. This means more than £500m will be available through the fund up to 2030 to support the long term success and growth of firms.

Most businesses should also be able to access certain support available from the UK Government – including the Job Retention Scheme or the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applications for further Welsh Government funding for freelancers closed at 5pm on Tuesday 1 June, this funding was administered by the local authorities in Wales.

Please also refer to the Business Wales website for details of any further packages of support.

Homelessness and eviction

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.

Can I be evicted from my home?

You can be evicted from your home on a no fault basis, but only once six months’ notice has been given by the landlord (shorter notice periods apply in relation to antisocial behaviour). If you do not leave after this notice period, the landlord will need to seek a possession order from the court. Please see the guidance on eviction during the coronavirus pandemic for more information on notice periods and where to seek advice if you are facing eviction.

Please see the guidance on paying your rent during the coronavirus pandemic for further information.

Where can I access help, support or emergency accommodation if I am /have experienced Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence,

If you are in immediate danger of risk or harm call 999, if you cannot speak, follow instructions by the operator, cough or make a noise so the operator knows it is not a pocket dial and press 55.

Emergency accommodation for victims fleeing domestic abuse and sexual violence remain open and continue accepting referrals via Live Fear Free helpline.

Live Fear Free helpline is a 24 hour, free service for anyone experiencing violence or abuse.  If you, a family member a friend, or someone you are concerned about has experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline 24 hours a day 7 days a week, for free advice and support or to talk through your options. Get in touch with Live Fear Free advisors free of charge by:

  • Phone: 0808 8010 800
  • Text: 078600 77333
  • Live chat

Travel

What are the rules for domestic travel into or out of Wales from the UK?

There are no restrictions in place for travel into or out of Wales as long as you are travelling to or from a country within the UK or wider Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands). However, you will need to check the restrictions in place in the area you are travelling from or to as some countries within the Common Travel Area have travel restrictions in place. This may prevent you from travelling unless you have a reasonable excuse, for example, travelling for work or education.

If travelling by public transport we would encourage you to plan your journey and use apps, such as Transport for Wales’ capacity checker, to try and avoid travelling in busy periods to help us maintain social distancing.

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. In particular, it is also sensible to avoid travelling to and from areas with a higher incidence rate if you can.

The UK Government has in place guidance for areas where there are higher rates of coronavirus circulating (on GOV.UK) which advises people to minimise travel, and for regular testing of people in those areas. Separate rules apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where travel may be restricted to or from different places.

We are not introducing any legal restrictions on travel within the UK at this point but it is our clear advice that people should avoid travelling to areas with high prevalence of coronavirus if they can avoid it. There is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, even if vaccinated, in those areas so you should avoid travelling to them if possible.

We would urge anyone planning a break in Wales from an area with higher rates of coronavirus to test themselves twice weekly, using the free COVID-19 lateral flow tests, before they travel. Only those who have a negative test result and no symptoms of coronavirus should travel. Everyone coming to Wales from areas with higher rates of coronavirus should bring lateral flow testing kits with them to continue regular testing while on holiday.

Lateral flow testing kits are available from local collection points across the UK. More information is available at: Regular rapid lateral flow coronavirus (COVID-19) tests - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

What are the rules for international travel?

The current situation for international travel is explained in this guidance and the key points are;

From 19 July the following requirements apply but dependent on where you have been in the previous 10 days before arriving in Wales;

  • If you have been in the Common Travel Area (UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) you do not need to isolate
  • If you have been in a green list country you do not need to isolate 
  • If you have been in an amber list country you must isolate for 10 days unless you are fully vaccinated or under 18 years of age
  • If you have been in a red list country in the previous 10 days you are not permitted to enter Wales (unless exceptional circumstances apply)

Please be aware that the isolation and testing requirements explained in this guidance are based on the highest rated country you have travelled in or visited in the 10 days before you arrive into the UK or Wales.

From 4am on 20 July the amber list rules for fully UK vaccinated people does not apply to France. If you have been in France in the 10 days before you arrive in Wales, you must follow the standard amber list rules. This means you must quarantine for 10 days on arrival in Wales and take day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests. You will need to book these tests in advance.

A digital NHS COVID Pass is available for people in Wales who have had two doses of vaccination and need to travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof.  You can call 0300 303 5667 to request a COVID Pass for international travel if you are unable to use the digital NHS COVID Pass or require a bilingual certificate.

The requirements for travellers arriving from a red list country are;

  1. You must complete a passenger locator form (on GOV.UK) before you arrive in the UK.
  2. You must have a pre-departure test certificate which shows a negative covid test within 72 hours before departure
    Children under the age of 11 do not need to take a test.
  3. You must have pre-booked your post-arrival test to be taken at Day 2
    Children under the age of 5 do not need to take a test.
    The test packages are £170 and can be booked through the CTM Portal   (please note at present you cannot book tests with a private test provider).
  4. You must have booked a place in a managed quarantine hotel (on GOV.UK) close to the point of entry and remain there for 10 days before you can travel to Wales.

The managed quarantine packages currently start at £1,750 per person and can be booked through the CTM Portal.

The requirements for travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the UK and those under 18 years of age arriving from an amber list country are:

  1. You must complete a passenger locator form (on GOV.UK) before you arrive in the UK.
  2. You must have a pre-departure test certificate which shows a negative covid test within 72 hours before departure
    Children under the age of 11 do not need to take a test.
  3. You must have pre-booked your post-arrival test to be taken at Day 2
    Children under the age of 5 do not need to take a test.
    The test package is £88 and can be booked through the CTM Portal  (please note you cannot book tests with a private test provider).
  4. You do not need to isolate.

For all other travellers including those who have been vaccinated outside of the UK the vaccination status does not avoid or reduce the isolation and testing requirements after arrival in Wales.

The requirements for travellers who have not been fully vaccinated in the UK arriving from an amber list country are:

  1. You must complete a passenger locator form (on GOV.UK) before you arrive in the UK.
  2. You must have a pre-departure test certificate which shows a negative covid test within 72 hours before departure
    Children under the age of 11 do not need to take a test.
  3. You must have pre-booked your post-arrival tests to be taken at Day 2 and Day 8 during your 10 day isolation period
    Children under the age of 5 do not need to take a test.
    The test packages are £170 and can be booked through the CTM Portal  (please note you cannot book tests with a private test provider).
  4. You must isolate for 10 days.
    The requirements for isolation that must be followed, including isolation in family households, are those that are applicable on the date of arrival in Wales or the rest of the UK

The requirements for travellers arriving from a green list country are:

  1. You must complete a passenger locator form (on GOV.UK) before you arrive in the UK.
  2. You must have a pre-departure test certificate which shows a negative covid test within 72 hours before departure
    Children under the age of 11 do not need to take a test.
  3. You must have pre-booked your post-arrival test to be taken at Day 2
    Children under the age of 5 do not need to take a test.
    The test packages are £88 and can be booked through the CTM Portal (please note at present you cannot book tests with a private test provider).
  4. You do not need to isolate.

Additional information for green and amber list countries

You must follow the rules in Wales even if you arrive in England first. You may arrive in England without being required to isolate in England. You may transit through England to reach Wales but you must follow any local restrictions in England which apply. You may stay overnight in England before onward travel if necessary. 

For non-fully vaccinated travellers arriving from an Amber list country, there are no provisions where a negative test taken before travel or in England through their 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.

In order to enter the UK you must be able to show that you have booked and paid for the post-arrival tests. Please see this additional guidance about inbound testing requirements. If you are in Wales without proof of test booking, you could be fined £2,000. If you are in Wales and have booked tests with a private test provider, you could be fined £1,000.

Certain categories of people travelling for work purposes may not have to take some tests and may not have to isolate or may leave isolation for work purposes.

Short visit

  • You must have booked and paid for the post-arrival tests before you depart from an amber list country..
  • You must have booked and paid for both tests (Day 2 and Day 8) even if you will not be able to take one or both of them.
  • You must remain in isolation for the whole period of your visit, you cannot have visitors and you cannot go out to visit other people except in very limited circumstances such as for compassionate reasons.
  • You may leave Wales to return to an amber list country you do not need to stay for the full 10 days.

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 you must isolate for 10 days in managed quarantine in England or Scotland. See information above.

UK residents who have been fully vaccinated with a NHS vaccine more than 14 days ago arriving from an amber list country do not have to self-isolate.  

If you are not fully vaccinated and travelling from an amber list country (any country outside the Common Travel Area and not on the red or green list) you must isolate for 10 days.

If you arrive from a green list country you are not required to isolate.

For more information, please see the guidance on testing and isolation requirements 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.

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.