Covid in Wales: What do the latest lockdown rules say?

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"We cannot let the virus take hold of our lives again"

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales are being tightened following a rise in cases.

More than half of the population of Wales are now subject to tighter rules, with the Welsh Government announcing lockdowns for 11 counties and one town.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have now been ordered to shut at 22:00 every night.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has also urged people across Wales to only travel if essential.

As well as licensed premises closing earlier, off-licences and supermarkets are now not allowed to sell alcohol after 22:00 and hospitality businesses will be required to provide table service only.

People must wear face coverings in shops and other indoor public spaces.

No more than six people can meet indoors under an extended household, comprised of up to four different households. But extended households have been suspended in areas under local lockdown.

Travel restrictions were then lifted on 6 July and people were allowed to form "extended households", with members of one other home.

Self-contained accommodation,hairdressers and beer gardens were allowed to reopen a week later, and pubs, bars and cafes have since reopened indoors.

On 22 August, people were allowed to form an "exclusive extended arrangement" with up to four households - double the previous amount allowed.

Staff and pupils then returned to school and students started university in September.

But a rise in cases sparked fears a second wave of the virus was on its way.

What are the current rules and changes, and how do they apply?

Who can I meet and where?

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Image caption,
Social distancing in Llandudno, Conwy

At the start of lockdown, strict rules meant people were unable to meet anyone who they did not live with, in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.

But as restrictions were eased and a travel ban was lifted, many of us were able to socialise again.

Who can I meet indoors?

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Richard Bluck says he may not be able to hug his daughter until a vaccine is found

The number of people able to meet indoors has been capped at six, although under-11s are not included in the six. These six people must be in an extended household - which can be comprised of four households.

People in an extended household can have physical contact, exercise, cook and eat together, and also stay in each other's homes, but the people in the extended household cannot be changed once arranged.

Up to 30 people are allowed to meet outdoors, including peoples' gardens.

The rules on meeting indoors do not apply in areas which have been placed under local lockdown from September. Extended households are currently suspended in these areas.

Despite the gradual easing of restrictions over the summer, meetings indoors with anyone outside your extended household have remained illegal.

Can I meet a group of friends?

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People must observe the 2m rule when meeting friends

Groups of up to 30 are able to meet outdoors, so long as they maintain social distancing.

You are able to meet in local parks, open spaces and private gardens, though you should not go into someone's home unless they are in your "extended household".

The Welsh Government has acknowledged people may have to pass through someone's home to reach a private garden, but individuals have been told not to stay inside.

Children under 11 do not have to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults because of lower rates of transmission in their age group.

Where do I need to wear a face covering?

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BBC's Laura Foster explains how to wear your mask correctly and help stop coronavirus spreading

People in Wales were told to wear face coverings in shops and other indoor public spaces from 14 September, following other parts of the UK.

Both customers and staff are legally required to wear face coverings in shops, 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.

But you will not be required to wear face coverings inside a public space where you are there to eat or drink, but you will need to wear one in the parts of the premises where people are not eating or drinking

Masks will not be mandatory in workplaces or schools and children under 11 will not be required to wear them.

Failing to comply could land you with a fine of up to £1,920.

Where can I travel?

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How do I quarantine after returning from abroad?

The original "stay local" guidance, asking people to stay within five miles of home, ended in July. But in his announcement on restrictions on 22 September, Mr Drakeford urged people to only take essential journeys.

In local lockdown areas, people are not allowed to enter or leave the local authority area unless they have a "reasonable excuse".

Excuses listed in the law include travelling to work if you are not able to work from home, to go to school, or to give care.

You can travel to buy food and medical supplies, seek medical assistance or go to the vets, and move home.

If you are buying essential items and there is no reasonable alternative to using shops within these counties, you can do so.

However, in most cases there are expected to be alternative options, even if this involves travelling a bit further than you would normally.

But people are advised to check the restrictions when it comes to international travel and travel to other parts of the UK, as some areas have local lockdown restrictions, or are on a quarantine list.

Service stations are not affected by local lockdowns and can still provide toilet facilities, fuel and food and drink.

When can I go to the pub or eat out?

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Pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants were forced to close at the start of lockdown.

But beer gardens and outdoor seating have reopened, with some areas, including Cardiff, shutting roads to create alfresco dining space.

Since 3 August, people have been able to enjoy a pint, or a soft drink or meal, indoors at their local or favourite restaurant again, after they were allowed to reopen inside.

But after the announcement on 22 September, pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have to shut at 22:00 every night, which is the same time alcohol sales will be stopped in shops and off-licences.

Can I get married?

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The couple were due to celebrate tying the knot in front of 300 guests

Couples can host receptions with food for up to 30 people indoors at weddings and civil ceremonies, if social distancing can be maintained and face coverings are worn.

Funeral wakes were also be able to be held indoors, under the same rules.

There are limits on the type of activity that can take place, according to Welsh Government guidance, including a ban on loud music and buffets.

People from an area in local lockdown, such as Caerphilly, are allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and funerals outside the county, but not wedding receptions or wakes.

Weddings and funerals are permitted in Caerphilly county, but people from outside the county must not attend the reception or wake.

What about toilets?

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Most public toilets are managed by local councils and were closed during the height of the pandemic.

While many have reopened, some remain closed, and the Welsh Government has said people should consider this when travelling. Rules on face coverings apply in public toilets.

Unless you are part of an extended household, the guidance states you must not use someone else's bathroom, or kitchen, if you are visiting them in their garden.

What if I am shielding or living with someone who is shielding?

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More than 120,000 people were told to self-isolate in Wales during the pandemic, meaning for months they were unable to have contact with relatives or go to the shops.

But as restrictions were eased, those classed as high-risk, were allowed to go outside to exercise and meet others - at a 2m distance, but were advised not to go into someone else's home or share food with them.

This was paused on 16 August, meaning people could see their loved ones again.

Can I exercise with a friend or play sport?

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Currently you are able to go for a walk, run or cycle as often as you want with people from a second household, as long as you are not in large groups and are at least 2m apart.

People can also exercise in groups, with up to 30 people being allowed to play sport outside at once.

This means exercise classes, team games such as cricket, and sports clubs can meet, but only if they are organised and supervised.

Swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres have also been allowed to reopen.

People in counties under lockdown can continue to exercise, but not with people from outside the county.

Can I book a holiday in Wales?

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Towns popular with tourists such as Tenby suffered from travel restrictions during lockdown

You can book a holiday with members of your household or extended household in self-contained accommodation or hotels, B&Bs and campsites with shared facilities in Wales.

But you cannot currently go on holiday with anyone that is not part of your household or extended household.

People under local lockdown restrictions are not allowed to leave the county, including to go on holiday elsewhere in Wales.

When can I have my hair cut or a beauty treatment?

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Home hairdressing: The basic tips you need

Many people were desperate for a cut, colour or to repair the damage done by doing it themselves by the time hairdressers and barbers reopened on 13 July.

But they are now very different places to those you could simply walk into, chat to friends or browse magazines.

For a start, there are strict hygiene rules in place, with hairdressers only able to accept booked appointments.

The same applies for visitors to tattooists, beauty and tanning salons, which were allowed to open from 27 July.

Rules on face coverings apply in these premises.

Following the local lockdowns in six areas of Wales, people can only visit such premises within the county area and must wear face coverings.

What about schools?

Media caption,
Pupils at Olfcha Comprehensive get used to new systems at school

It's back to school in Wales - but not quite as we knew it before.

The "new normal" in classrooms means working in bubbles and limited contact with pupils outside their group.

But parents and teachers have welcomed the staggered return following six months of disruption.

Schools initially welcomed back pupils in small groups for "check in, catch up and prepare" sessions on 29 June after being closed for more than three months.

Truancy fines will not be issued if pupils do not attend at the start of the school year, but this plan will be reviewed as the term develops.

Dozens of schools have reported cases and entire year groups have self-isolated since the start of term, but Education Minister Kirsty Williams said it was to be expected.

Can I have work done on my house?

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Emergency plumbing is allowed if social distancing is maintained and tradesperson and householders are well

Repair and maintenance work can be carried out in people's homes, provided the worker is well, has no Covid-19 symptoms and ensures a 2m distance is maintained.

The Welsh Government recommends no work should be carried out in a household which is isolated or where a vulnerable person is being shielded, unless an emergency repair is needed.

What about places of worship?

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Image caption,
Llandaff Cathedral is back open for private prayer

During lockdown mosques, synagogues and churches were closed in Wales, and there have been limits on the number of people attending funerals and weddings.

From 13 July faith leaders were able to gradually resume services, once they felt ready to do so safely.

As discussed, places of worship are public spaces where the Welsh Government has said people should wear face coverings.

Can I buy or rent a new house?

If you are looking to move house, you can view homes for rent or sale in Wales - but you must follow social distancing rules and keep your hands clean.

You can also visit estate agents, sales offices or show rooms, but must wear a face covering.

Can I visit my Welsh second home?

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Image caption,
Exercising on the beach at Llandudno

People were previously told not to travel to second homes in order protect the smaller NHS hospitals in areas where most Welsh boltholes are situated.

However, people can now "travel as far as they like for all purposes" according to Mr Drakeford, allowing people to visit second homes, providing they are not leaving, or travelling to, an area under local lockdown.

Last updated 27 September 2020: This story has been updated since April with new information from the Welsh Government about the lockdown rules

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