image captionResorts like Llandudno will be able to welcome visitors, but only from other parts of Wales
“Stay-local” rules will lift in Wales from Saturday and unrestricted travel within its borders will be allowed.
It means Wales will be the first UK nation to scrap travel restrictions within country boundaries since lockdowns were re-imposed in winter.
Self-contained tourist accommodation – including many hotels and cottages – will also be able to open on Saturday.
But non-essential travel to and from other UK nations will be banned for at least two weeks.
The move by the Welsh government will also see six people from two households able to meet up outside, an increase from the current four-person limit.
image captionCaravans are among the accommodation that will be able to reopen
Organised outdoor activities and sports for under-18s can resume, and libraries and archives will be able to reopen their doors.
Rules will also allow a limited opening of outdoor areas of some historical places and gardens.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the “public health position remains stable” and there was “headroom” to make changes.
Responding to criticism that England has a roadmap further into the future, he said: “There’s no guarantee those dates will turn out to mean anything in reality, that’s why I’m reluctant to provide what I think of as a spurious certainty about what can happen that far into the future.
“We will do things where we can be definite… we will try to be as definite as we can. I want to give sectors sufficient warning, but I don’t want to be suggesting that we can see the future that far ahead sufficiently precisely.”
How have tourism businesses reacted?
image captionHuw Pendleton said he expected his caravan parks to be extremely busy at the weekend
Huw Pendleton, the managing director of Celtic Holiday Parks in Pembrokeshire, said he expected to be “extremely busy” at the weekend.
He said all three of his parks were fully booked and they were expecting up to 600 people to arrive over the weekend.
“We will be very grateful to let people back into the business,” he said.
“We hope that people will act responsibly because health comes first. But these communities are very reliant on tourism.”
Kevin Burt of Llandegfedd Visitor and Watersports Centre, near Pontypool, said: “We know that people have been desperate to get out, to enjoy the countryside, to enjoy the walks and to take it all in.
“We’re really excited to welcome our customers back, but we are very conscious as well that it needs to be safe for them and for the people who work here as well.”
image captionLeighton Phillips, owner of Aeron Coast Holiday Park, says he has been receiving calls from static caravan owners
Leighton Phillips, is the owner of Aeron Coast Holiday Park in Aberaeron, Ceredigion, which has 200 static caravans and space for 100 tourers.
About 90% of the statics are owned by people from south Wales, many of whom have been calling Mr Phillips, asking when they can come back.
The park’s shared facilities – the club, children’s playroom, gym and pool – have to stay closed, but Mr Phillips is expecting a busy weekend.
“I suppose from one minute past 12 they could come, but they will be coming I’m sure from eight o’clock on in the morning,” he said.
“I think mainly they want to be able to just get out, have a stroll around and see people at a distance.
“They’re so used – as we all have been – to being locked in at home and looking at the garden wall or what’s outside. Now they really want to see their friends and they’re a very very close community here.”
Tegryn Jones, chief executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, told BBC Radio Wales: “It’s an opportunity for some of the tourism businesses to reopen, but there is concern… that having been in lockdown they could see an influx of visitors, so we’re appealing to people just to act responsibly and consider everybody.”
Can I travel to Wales?
Speaking on BBC Radio Wales’ Breakfast programme, Mr Drakeford said people in England were expected to be able to travel from 12 April, and if those restrictions are lifted they will be able to come to Wales.
In the meantime, people taking bookings are expected to ensure they are only taking them from people living in Wales.
Mr Drakeford said: “Avoid crowded places. We are such a lucky country, we’ve got so many fantastic places people can explore and visit. Look for those other opportunities, respect other people, keep a distance.
“If there are people knowingly and deliberately breaking the law then action will be taken.”
He added vaccine passports for entering pubs was something which “we should be exploring”.
Are families looking forward to being reunited?
image captionDeio, Gwenlli and Osian are looking forward to seeing their grandparents
The relaxation of rules on who and how many people you can meet outdoors means Deio, Gwenlli and Osian will be able to meet their grandparents – at a safe distance – for the first time since Christmas Day.
“It’s been very, very difficult not seeing them,” said Osian, 15.
“I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends, and hopefully getting back to playing football and things like that.”
Gwenlli, 10, said it had been “sad” not being able to see her grandparents, but she understood it was for a good reason.
“I would love to go shopping again and do gymnastics in my gymnastics club,” she added.
Deio, 12, said it had been “hard” but was looking forward to going on a picnic with his grandparents.
image captionMatt Childs, the RNLI’s lifesaving manager for south Wales, says sea temperatures are very cold at this time of year
The ending of Wales’ Covid travel restrictions coincides with the Easter school holiday and a spell of warmer weather.
Welsh beaches “were much busier last year” as more people took holiday staycations because of coronavirus travel restrictions abroad, and lifeguards are expecting this year to also be busy.
But people who may be considering heading to the beach have been warned they could get in difficulty with cold seas and many unseen strong currents.
“The sea around the Welsh coast has still not warmed up,” said Matt Childs, the RNLI’s lifesaving manager for south Wales.
“It is really cold and you’re likely to get yourself into difficulty with cold water shock hitting you. The sea only needs to be 13 to 15 degrees to be in trouble and its much colder than that now.”
When will lockdown ease further?
image captionStay local travel rules, which had been in force for two weeks, will end on Saturday
Retailers may be allowed to fully reopen, and teaching of pupils not yet back in school could restart, from 12 April.
Primary schools and some secondary school children have already resumed classes.
A decision on whether to permit pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen outdoors will not be taken until at least 22 April.
The UK government does not plan to ease stay at home restrictions in England until 29 March, but ministers will urge people to remain local as much as possible.
It plans to allow trips to self-catering accommodation from 12 April.
The Welsh government said the level of restrictions was “starting” to move from alert level four to alert level three.
What’s the political reaction?
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “It’s a difficult balance to strike… but I think one of the areas I don’t think the Welsh government are getting it right is giving sufficient forewarning to businesses.
“Having a series of dates as far out as June is excessive… but businesses tell us the one thing they need is notice.”
Calum Davies, from the Welsh Conservatives, said: “This change is very welcome, better late than never, really, but this is the first step of what businesses need to hear especially in the tourism industry.
“We still need more clarity and detail in other areas.
Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “This will come as welcome news to many who have been cut off for a long time.
“The public have a duty to follow these new rules carefully as the virus is still very much circulating amongst us. I hope this will the start of the end of our final lockdown.”
Stay local rules were in place for just two weeks, replacing a stay-at-home order – in place since the start of the third national Welsh lockdown.
Lockdown was imposed in Wales at the end of December after a rise in cases increased pressure on the Welsh NHS.
Wales’ case rate has been below 50 cases per 100,000 – the case rate threshold used as the guide for bringing areas into lockdown last year – for the past 20 days.
At the moment it is 39.1 per 100,000 over the past seven days.
The peak was 17 December, when it was 636 cases per 100,000.
The rate that tests are coming back as positive is the lowest point since mid-September, at 3.2%.