Wales' local coronavirus lockdowns: What are the rules?

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Conwy is one of the counties in north Wales under local lockdown restrictions

People living in 17 areas around Wales are now facing local lockdown restrictions.

The city of Bangor in Gwynedd becomes the second place in Wales to face hyper-local restrictions to deal with a massive spike in Covid cases.

It is the only part of Gwynedd being told to enforce stricter coronavirus measures.

It joins four other areas in north Wales, while 12 areas in south and south-west Wales are in local lockdown.

That includes Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, where the hyper-local restrictions were imposed on the town on 25 September.

It means more than two million people will be subject to tighter local restrictions.

Here's a guide to what you can and can't do.

Can I leave or enter those areas?

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The city of Bangor in Gwynedd has been placed under a local lockdown

Under the rules, nobody is able to enter or leave a total of 15 entire council areas, the town of Llanelli, and from 18:00 on Saturday, 10 October, the city of Bangor, without a "reasonable excuse".

There are a number of excuses listed in the law used to enforce the regulations.

These include travelling to school, to give care or to work if you are unable to work from home. You can only go to your place of work and then back home again, although you are allowed to use cafes and shops there if needed, such as to buy lunch.

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.

Other reasons include:

  • Obtaining supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person
  • Children travelling in order to play sport
  • Elite athletic training and competitions
  • To provide or receive emergency assistance
  • To meet a legal obligation, and to access or receive public services
  • To avoid injury or illness or escape a risk of harm

Otherwise, the borders are effectively closed. BBC Wales has been told the Welsh Government considers compassionate visits to a loved one as a reasonable excuse, although it is not listed in the legislation.

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Swansea has been added to the list of local lockdown areas

Can I see friends and family?

Rules for meeting indoors have changed.

Friends and family can no longer meet indoors, while overnight stays are also banned.

So extended households are unable to meet, essentially meaning you cannot enter anyone else's home in the affected counties.

Meeting people from outside your extended household indoors remains banned in the rest of Wales.

Can I go to the pub or out for dinner?

All licensed premises across Wales must stop selling all alcohol at 22:00 every day.

That includes pubs, cafes, restaurants and supermarkets.

You can still go for a drink or a meal indoors, but only with members of your immediate household.

You can eat and drink with people from other households outdoors as long as you maintain social distancing.

Rules against meeting other people from outside your household indoors still apply in pubs and restaurants.

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Pubs must stop serving alcohol at 22:00 with 20 minutes to drink-up

Do I need to wear a mask?

In shops, yes you have to.

People in Wales must wear face masks in shops, other indoor public spaces and public transport as coronavirus cases rise.

Are schools staying open?

Yes. Schools, which have only just returned from the summer holidays, will stay open.

However, a number of schools across Wales have told pupils to isolate after positive tests, so any changes will be done on a case-by-case basis.

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Students can still attend school and colleges

Can you go on holiday?

No.

In a Facebook question and answer video about local lockdown in Caerphilly, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said if residents had booked holidays already they should speak to their providers, explain it would be a breach of the law for them to attend, and seek a refund.

Officials would be in touch with package holiday providers and insurers "to explain to them the seriousness of the position and the risk to them and their business if people from Caerphilly were nevertheless to go on holiday", he added.

Can I go to a wedding or a funeral?

Yes, but with restrictions.

Marriages and civil partnerships can take still take place under the local lockdowns with small receptions, but guests from outside the area cannot attend the reception.

It is the same for funerals and wakes.

Those living in the boroughs can attend a wedding ceremony or funeral outside the area, but not a reception or a funeral wake.

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People can leave if they cannot work from home, to give care, go to school or for essential shopping

How long will the lockdown last?

We don't know exactly.

The lockdown measures in each area will be reviewed two weeks after they began, Wales' health minister has said.

Vaughan Gething said there were "cautious reasons" for optimism, based on how lockdown measures were working in Caerphilly county borough, the first area to be targeted for new restrictions.

The county has seen a "levelling off and a slight reduction in new cases" though lockdown will last at least another week, the Welsh Government announced on Thursday.

By the end of that period, Caerphilly would have been in local lockdown for three weeks.

What about childcare?

Children whose parents do not live in the same home can continue to move between homes, whether inside or outside the affected area, the Welsh Government said.

It said parents can continue to rely on wider family for childcare while they are in work, but only when "no other methods are available".

Can I be fined if I break the rules?

Yes.

People who breach new laws could face fixed penalty notices of £60 for a first offence.

Penalties will double with every subsequent offence, to a maximum of £1,920. Fixed penalty notices are used as an alternative to prosecution - if a case reached the courts, fines could be unlimited.

The rules will be enforced by local authorities as well as the police.

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What have the police said?

A senior officer said Gwent Police was not planning to introduce roadblocks or cordons during lockdown.

Ch Supt Mark Hobrough said neighbourhood officers would talk to motorists and visit shops and businesses to ensure everyone was aware of the new rules, with enforcement the "last objective".

"We really do want the community to work with us in relation to this to be able to combat this infection and fight it off as soon as possible," he said.

Where can I find more information?

The Welsh Government has published a Q&A page and a set of guidelines on its website.

The legislation can be found here.

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