THE WELSH Government will lift the stay-at-home requirement in Wales from Friday, and replace it with stay local, while traders such as hairdressers and barbers can open from Monday.
First Minister Mark Drakeford says the decision has been made as part of a “careful, cautious, and phased approach”.
From Saturday (March 13), four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens.
In addition, outdoor sports facilities, including baseball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can reopen. Indoor care home visits will restart, for single designated visitors.
From Monday, all primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return, and schools will have the flexibility to bring Year 10 and 12 learners back. All learners will return after the Easter break.
Most surprisingly, hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments from Monday, but other non-essential shops can’t.
From March 22 non-essential retail will begin reopening gradually as the restrictions are lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open.
Garden centres will also be able to reopen, while all shops – including close contact services – will be able to open from April 12, the same date as England.
On Friday, the First Minister is expected to say: “We are taking a phased approach to unlocking each sector – starting with schools. We will make step-by-step changes each week, to gradually restore freedoms.
“We will monitor each change we make, so we know what impact each change has had on Wales’ public health situation.”
The First Minister says he will also announce an additional £150m to support businesses. How this will be split is not yet known.
A hair salon owner in Chepstow Sarah Wilford said she had no prior notice of the decision [for hair salons to open before others], which she says – while she is grateful to open – will cause ‘upheaval’.
“I only had an inkling [of reopening on Monday] from some of things I’d heard in the media, but I thought it could have gone either way,” she said.
“I’ve felt so nervous and anxious. I’ve not slept in anticipation of Friday’s announcement. If I had a bit of warning it would have saved a big headache.
“It’s overwhelming to think my phone will be going for 24 hours a day all weekend. It’s not an easy task when you have 100-plus clients.
“If we had more notice, we could have spread out the massive upheaval that is about to occur.”
It is not yet clear whether new ‘stay local’ restrictions will mean a return of the broad five-mile rule seen earlier in the pandemic.
Health minister Vaughan Gething previously said people living in more rural areas would be given allowance to travel greater distances than those in urban towns and cities if the country moved to stay local.
He said any new rules would likely last a “few weeks” before the country would allow greater freedom to travel, with the rules on travel needing to be relaxed to allow self-contained holiday accommodation to reopen in time for Easter.