Some semblance of normal life will begin again in Wales from Saturday, with the country’s first minister, Mark Drakeford, expected to announce a change from the current “stay home” restrictions to more lenient “stay local” requirements.
Drakeford 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.”
From Saturday, four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens; outdoor sports facilities – including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses – can reopen; and indoor care home visits will restart for single designated visitors. The relaxation of rules will allow people from rural areas to travel greater distances than those who live in urban towns and cities.
Hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments from Monday, the same day that all primary school pupils and those in qualifications years can return to schools.
Non-essential retail, which was considered for reopening from next week, will start to reopen gradually from 22 March, while restrictions will be lifted on what can be sold in shops that are currently open. All shops, including all close-contact services, will be able to open from 12 April, the same date as in England.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Friday morning, Drakeford said self-contained holiday accommodation would reopen from Easter, but people from England would not be able to visit. He said he hoped tourism would be open to people outside of Wales by the summer if the coronavirus situation continued to improve.
“At Easter time, Welsh people will be able to travel for holidays over Easter within Wales, and to self-contained accommodation,” Drakeford said.
“The rules in England will not permit that. The prime minister’s road map says that for the weeks after 29 March, people should minimise travel, there are to be no holidays, and people won’t be allowed to stay away from home overnight.”
He conceded that in many Welsh homes, people would need to go through the house to access the back garden but “the idea is you walk straight through, out the back door into the garden”.
“That will be a big step forward here in Wales, people haven’t been able to do that now for weeks and weeks,” he said.