image captionStay-local rules have been brought in to replace the ‘stay home’ message during lockdown
Going to the hairdresser, playing a round of golf and meeting friends in your garden are all set to become legal again in Wales.
The Welsh Government has announced a relaxation of lockdown rules, with the first coming into effect on Saturday.
However, supermarkets are not allowed to sell non-essential items for another week and retail shops remain closed.
The first minister said the easing of rules in Wales was the start of a “phased approach” out of lockdown.
It has also now been confirmed primary schools will be open to all pupils on Monday.
Secondary school students in exam years (11 and 13) will also return to the classroom and schools will have the flexibility to bring year 10 and 12 learners back.
Mark Drakeford will give a more detailed timetable for easing restrictions, including around tourism, during his lunchtime press conference.
However, the Welsh Government has confirmed a number of changes to the rules.
What restrictions will be lifted?
From Saturday 13 March
- “Stay at home” will become “stay local”
- Four people from two different households can meet up outdoors to socialise, including in gardens – children are excluded from the number
- Outdoor sports facilities such for golf, tennis and basketball will be able to reopen
- Designated solo visitors can enter care homes
From Monday 15 March
- All primary school children and those in qualifications years can return to class
- Schools will have flexibility to bring back year 10 and 12 learners back and more learners will return to colleges
- Hairdressers and barbers can reopen – for appointments only
From Monday 22 March
- Gradual easing of non-essential shopping and non-essential aisles in supermarkets
- Garden centres to reopen
From 12 April
- All shops will be able to open – the same date as in England.
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.”
What do hairdressers say?
image captionSalon owner Vicky Lewis said she saw some “scary haircuts” after the first lockdown
Vicky Lewis, who owns Vicki’s Salon and Kidz Cutz in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire welcomed the news after another lockdown that had been “horrendous, boring and stressful”.
“I have had my salon for 22 years so I’ve been desperate to work,” she said.
“It is also really worrying as you don’t know if you still have your clients. It feels like I’m starting over again.”
Now she is looking forward to trying to repair the same “overgrown and scary haircuts” she saw after the first lockdown.
What about shops?
However, that will now begin on 22 March when garden centres can reopen and supermarkets remove the wrapping from their non-essential items aisles.
All other shops are expected to reopen from 12 April and the Welsh Government says it is making an extra £150m available to support businesses affected by ongoing restrictions.
image captionNon-essential retail will have been closed almost three months by the time it reopens on 22 March
Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said the delay reopening shops was “deeply frustrating” with the industry losing £100m every week in revenue during lockdown.
“At the last review the first minister opened the door for a possible reopening on Monday and many retailers have taken the leap and invested in their stores and furloughed staff in preparation.
“[This delay] will simply exacerbate the woes of a stricken industry.
“Welsh retailers are desperate to play their part in getting the economy moving once more and to have the opportunity this Easter period to make up for the substantial lost revenues incurred over the past few months.
What are Wales’ case rates?
For a period in December, the case rate in Wales was one of the highest in the world – but has fallen significantly during the latest lockdown to 43 cases per 100,000 people.
The Wales case rate is now at its lowest since 17 September and while it has edged up slightly for the first time since the end of January, it remains below the 50 cases per 100,000 “circuit-breaker” threshold.
What is the political reaction?
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said travel restrictions should be eased with caution and the “stay local” message should be introduced “for as long as necessary”.
“Any relaxation of restrictions need to be done slowly and steadily,” he said.
Mr Price also called on the Welsh Government to provide “the clearest plan possible about the road ahead of us”.
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, urged the government to “provide hope and a detailed plan for families, workers and businesses” across Wales.
“As a priority, this should include dates and windows of opportunity for businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors. It’s the least those sectors deserve,” he said.
What does it look like in the rest of the UK?
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland is still to outline its plans to relax restrictions.
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