Last reviewed 18 March 2021

As part of what he describes as a careful, cautious and phased approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that, from 13 March, people in Wales will be told to “stay local”, rather than to “stay at home”.

He suggested that this should generally be taken to mean staying within a five-mile radius of home.

Coming out of lockdown

The First Minister set out the following plans.

From Saturday 13 March: four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens. They will be allowed to enter through the house if this is the only way of reaching the garden.

In addition, Mr Drakeford explained, outdoor sports facilities — including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses — can reopen, and indoor care home visits will restart, but only for single designated visitors.

From Monday 15 March: hairdressers and barbers will re-open for appointments.

All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring year 10 and 12 learners back and more learners will return to colleges. There will also be flexibility for in-school check-ins for all other pupils.

From Monday 22 March: non-essential retail will start re-opening gradually as the restrictions are lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open. Garden centres will also be able to open

From Saturday 27 March: self-contained accommodation may be allowed to reopen, provided cases remain low. The “stay local” rule will be lifted in time for Easter if the public health situation continues to improve and libraries will reopen.

From Wednesday 31 March: advice that clinically extremely vulnerable people should stay at home will be paused although the shielding patient list will remain in place and available should it be needed again.

From Monday 12 April: all shops, including all close contact services, will be able to open from — the same date as in England. All learners will return after the Easter break.

Announcing an additional £150 million to support businesses affected by ongoing restrictions, Mr Drakeford said: “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”.

Shielding to be paused

The government has confirmed that, from 31 March, shielding measures are to be paused across Wales. This means that those who have previously been advised to shield can return to work if they cannot work from home, as long as the business is Covid-secure. Children who have been following shielding measures will also be able to return to school when appropriate for their year group.