Restrictions in Wales

All of Wales is at Alert Level 4

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  1. Stay at home
  2. Meet only the people you live with
  3. Maintain social distancing
  4. Wash your hands regularly
  5. Work from home if you can

The Details:

  • Follow social distancing rules with people you don’t live with or who are not in your support bubble.
  • Wear a face covering (if you are able to) in all indoor public places.
  • Stay at home.
  • Not create an extended household (single adults or single parents may join with one other household to form an exclusive support bubble).
  • Meet only the people you live with or your support bubble indoors.
  • Meet only your household or support bubble in private gardens.
  • Meet only your household or support bubble outdoors. 
  • Work from home if you can. 
  • Not travel without reasonable excuse. 
  • Not travel internationally without reasonable excuse.

You should only be outside of your home for very limited reasons, which include:

  • the need to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance. We encourage everyone to make this as infrequently as possible
  • to exercise, alone or with members of your household or support bubble. We encourage this to be done locally.
  • to access childcare and education
  • to access medical services
  • to access public services
  • to deposit and withdraw money from a bank or similar establishment
  • to provide care for or to help a vulnerable person; this includes getting food or medicines for them
  • to help the NHS by donating blood
  • for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes, but only where it is not reasonably practicable to do this from home
  • to visit a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects
  • to attend a place of worship
  • to attend a wedding, civil partnership or funeral if you are invited
  • to attend court or meet other legal obligations, or to vote
  • to escape a risk of illness or injury, such as for victims or people at risk of domestic abuse
  • to access services provided to victims of crime or domestic abuse or those at imminent risk of becoming victims

Whenever you leave home, you should try to minimise time spent outside of the home, and ensure you stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with or are in a permitted support bubble with.

Can I meet up with another household?

For most households the answer will be no, you must not meet up with anyone you do not live with, except in very limited circumstances such as providing or receiving care (see answer below on caring responsibilities).

If you are an adult living alone or are in a household with a single responsible adult, you can form a support bubble with one other household. This will allow you to spend time with the people in that household as if you lived with them.

Please see our guidance on seeing people in private homes for more information.

Can friends or family from another household come into my home?

No, except in some very limited circumstances – see answer above.

Are the rules on who I can meet different indoors and outdoors?

No. Under alert level 4 restrictions, people must reduce all physical contact between households to an absolute minimum, so as to do as much as we can to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Can I form an extended household?

No, you cannot form an extended household at alert level 4. The only exception to this is if you are an adult living alone or are in a household with a single responsible adult, you can form a support bubble with one other household.

For more information on what is meant by a single responsible adult, please see our guidance on seeing people in private homes.

I share parental responsibility for a child with someone I don’t live with – can I still see them?

Where parental responsibility is shared, existing arrangements can continue and the child can move between both parents, and therefore between both parents’ households (and support bubbles where relevant).

My child does not live with me but there are regular arrangements in place so we can continue to have contact with each other – can these arrangements continue?

Yes – for children who do not live in the same household as their parents and have existing arrangements in place to visit and safely have contact, these arrangements can continue. This could include children in foster care, children’s homes and adoptive placements.

I have caring responsibilities for somebody I do not live with – can I visit them?

You are allowed to provide care for or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult, even if they are not part of your household or support bubble. You can also visit someone on compassionate grounds if necessary.

When considering whether there is a need to visit someone outside your household or support bubble, especially indoors, you should remember we all have a responsibility to recognise the risks the virus presents to ourselves, our families and friends and our wider communities.

People need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle. Keep in mind that the purpose of the restrictions is to prevent the spreading of the virus, including to those we care about.

What do you mean by compassionate grounds?

You may have compassionate reasons for visiting someone in exceptional circumstances where that person is struggling with restrictions on meeting others generally or they may be suffering from a physical or mental illness, have suffered a bereavement or you may be concerned about their general wellbeing or welfare.

Visits to places such as supported accommodation, children’s homes, hospitals or care homes are permitted in exceptional circumstances, where they are allowed by the relevant setting. In each case, the service provider needs to put in place appropriate social distancing and safety measures before allowing visits, and you should contact them before travelling.

How do I safely drop off essential goods?

When dropping off essential goods, you should:

  • minimise all contact with other people
  • wash your hands before handling any goods or use hand sanitiser if access to soap and water is not possible. 
  • leave any goods in a pre-arranged place, such as a porch or doorstep
  • step away at least two metres.
  • consider wearing a face covering

You should not go in to their home unless absolutely necessary. If this is necessary, additional mitigating actions should be put in place. For example, all doors should be opened to minimise touching surfaces and a face covering should be worn.

You must not drop off essential goods if you are self-isolating

I rely on my wider family and friends to provide childcare while I am in work. Can they still do this for me?

Yes, but this form of childcare should only be used when no other methods are available. Children should not be cared for outside of their home if they are ill, or by anyone who is ill.

I live alone or am a single parent, so I am allowed to form a support bubble – does it have to be with a household in my local area?

There are no rules saying your support bubble has to be with someone in your local authority area, or within any set distance of your home. There are also no rules preventing support bubbles being formed with households outside Wales, and we recognise these may be the right answer for people living close to a border. 

We recommend that support bubbles are formed locally wherever possible. In particular, we ask that people think very carefully about possible alternatives before forming support bubbles which would require extensive travel or travel into areas outside Wales with very high incidence rates of coronavirus.

Can I leave home to exercise?

Yes. Exercise is important for physical and mental health, and you can leave home as often as you like to exercise as long as you do so from home and alone or with members of your household or support bubble (and/or a carer).

What kind of exercise is permitted?

There are no legal limits on this, but in practice this is constrained by other restrictions at alert level 4, such as the closure of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools. As one of the purposes of the restrictions is to reduce pressure on the Welsh NHS, we also ask people to avoid activities that involve a significant degree of risk (for example swimming or other exercise at sea, or in lakes, rivers or other waterways).

Are parks open?

Parks are allowed to remain open for outdoor exercise. You can visit parks with members of your household but you must not arrange to meet with other households.

However, some parts of parks such as sports courts, skate parks, bowling greens and golf courses (including putting, pitch and putt or miniature golf) will be closed.

Are children’s playgrounds open?

Yes. The benefits of outdoor play to children are significant and keeping parks and playgrounds open supports children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Outdoor environments are lower risk in relation to coronavirus transmission.

However, the risk cannot be eliminated, and parents and guardians are encouraged to ensure playgrounds do not get too busy, and take responsibility for social distancing. In particular, you must not arrange to meet with other households at playgrounds and should not socialise there.

We also encourage frequent handwashing or sanitisation, not eating or drinking in parks, wiping down equipment with your own wipes, and maintaining low numbers within parks and on equipment by taking turns or using parks at less busy times.

People on low incomes can apply to receive a £500 payment if they have tested positive for coronavirus or they are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The payment is available to people on a low income who are unable to work from home and would lose income as a result of self-isolating. To be eligible, people must be self-isolating and in receipt of Universal Credit or another specified benefit.

The Self-Isolation Payment scheme is now live. People are able to apply for the payments via their local authority website and they will be backdated to 23 October. Please see the self-isolation support scheme page to find out more.

People who are self-isolating may also be able to access help from voluntary organisations in their area if they do not have any friends or family who can help them with getting food and other essentials.

What is a duty to self-isolate?

People who have tested positive or have come in to close contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus will be required by law to self-isolate for ten days or 14 days respectively when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect. This notification will come through a phone call, text message or email. Failure to do so can lead to you being issued a fixed penalty notice or criminal prosecution.

It is advised that, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should follow the general self-isolation guidance and should arrange to have a test (although again this is not covered by the legal duty).

What exactly does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation is where you stay home and limit all unnecessary contact with others outside of your household. This includes not going to work outside your home. 

I have tested positive for coronavirus. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you test positive for coronavirus and you know when your symptoms started, you need to self-isolate until at least 10 days have passed from the day you reported you symptoms.

But if you test positive for coronavirus and you cannot tell contact tracers when your symptoms started, or you have not had symptoms, then you must self-isolate until 10 days has elapsed since your test.

I haven’t tested positive for coronavirus, but I have been told by contact tracers to self-isolate. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

You will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you do not live with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, the 14 days starts from when you last had close contact with them. Contact tracers should advise you of when that contact took place.

If you do live with the person who has tested positive for coronavirus, the 14 days starts on the day they reported their symptoms. Or, if they have not displayed any symptoms, the 14 days starts from the time of their test.

I have been told to self-isolate – are there any situations in which I can still leave home?

There are a few exceptional circumstances where you are able to leave self-isolation:

  • to seek medical assistance, where this is urgent or you are advised to do so by a medical professional
  • where you are at serious risk of harm, such as to avoid domestic abuse or sexual violence
  • to meet a legal obligation or participate in court proceedings, if this cannot be done remotely from home
  • for compassionate reasons, such as attending the funeral of a family member or close friend
  • to shop for basic necessities, but only if nobody else can do this for you and you cannot get them delivered
  • to move house, if you have to because it is no longer possible for you to stay where you are living
  • to access veterinary services, if nobody else can transport the animal to and from those services

However, although you are allowed to leave home for these purposes, you should think carefully about whether you have an alternative to doing so.

What support is available to people who have to self-isolate?

People on low incomes can apply to receive a £500 payment if they have tested positive for coronavirus or they are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The payment is available to people on a low income who are unable to work from home and would lose income as a result of self-isolating. To be eligible, people must be self-isolating and in receipt of Universal Credit or another specified benefit.

The final arrangements are being made for the Self-Isolation Payment scheme to go live. People will be able to apply for the payments via their local authority website and they will be backdated to 23 October.

My child has been told to self-isolate. Are they under a duty to self isolate?

Children aged 16 and 17 are generally notified directly by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect. In those circumstances the child is treated as an adult and must isolate according to the same rules.

In the case of younger children it will be the parent, guardian or or other responsible adult who will be notified about a child’s requirement to isolate.  In those cases the parent, guardian or responsible adult is required to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the child complies with the requirement to isolate. In the rare circumstances where a parent, guardian or responsible adult is notified about a child aged 16 or 17, this requirement to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the child self-isolates will apply.

Where a child is required to self-isolate as a known contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the household setting, only the child (not the whole household) is required to complete a period of self-isolation.

Does my employer have to let me self-isolate?

Yes. Employers should enable any employee who is required to self-isolate to do so.

Can I still work from home when isolating?

If you are able to work from home, then we encourage people to continue to do so wherever possible, if they are well enough.  Your employer should support you to work from home as much as possible while isolating.  If you cannot work from home, then you may be eligible for a self-isolation payment or for statutory sick pay due to COVID-19 (on GOV.UK).

Anyone who is in Wales, whether resident or travelling here, is bound by these rules. However, travelling to a workplace in Wales is a reasonable excuse to leave home. Similarly, people living in Wales can travel to England for work purposes where this is necessary and they cannot work from home.

This is subject to any rules that may apply in England. Please see the UK Government’s guidance on restrictions in England for further information.

Are there travel restrictions in place in Wales?

Yes. Travel is limited to essential travel only, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes where people cannot work from home.

I live in Wales, can I go on holiday in Wales or elsewhere?

No. Going on holiday is not one of the permitted reasons to travel under the Regulations at alert level 4, whether that is in Wales, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

We know this will be disappointing but the regulations are in place to protect you and your loved ones from coronavirus.

If you have pre-booked – and paid – for a holiday, we would advise you to contact the travel agent or travel company to discuss the current situation in Wales and the restrictions, which have been put in place by the Welsh Government to restrict non-essential travel. You should also contact your travel insurer to discuss the situation – while many insurers have designed policies with coronavirus exclusion clauses, some annual policies may cover this situation.

Can I travel to see my support bubble?

Travel is permitted during alert level 4 restrictions for the purpose of meeting with someone in your support bubble, including travel abroad

I do not live in Wales, can I travel to Wales for a holiday or to visit family and friends?

Travel is limited to essential travel only when alert level 4 restrictions are in place, for example travelling for work purposes or to return home.

Can I collect or drop off someone at the airport if they are travelling to Wales for an allowed purpose?

Yes, if the only alternative would be for them to use public transport or a taxi. Please follow our guidance on travelling safely.

Are accommodation businesses in Wales allowed to open?

No, all accommodation businesses are required to be closed. 

However, accommodation which is closed can continue to provide accommodation for anybody who is living there as their main residence when alert level 4 restrictions are introduced, or is staying there at that time and is unable to return to their main residence. Accommodation businesses should ensure they do not unintentionally make anyone homeless as a result of closure – for advice they should contact the local authority housing options team.

Local authorities or Welsh Ministers can authorise or make a request for accommodation businesses to provide some other services whilst closed. Requests could for example include accommodating key workers, people who have been displaced or are homeless, or medical patients.

I do not live in Wales but I am currently in Wales on holiday. Do I need to return home if the place I am staying goes into alert level 4?

Yes, we ask you to return home – or at least to leave the area within alert level 4 – as soon as possible, ideally before it enters into alert level 4.

We recognise that some people will be unable to return home before alert level 4 comes in to force, for example because they are booked on a flight which can not be changed. 

In these circumstances, you will need to comply with the restrictions in your current location until you are able to travel home or to another destination outside alert level 4, which you should do as soon as possible. 

In these instances, your accommodation provider is allowed to continue providing its services to you until you can return home. It does not need to be specially authorised to continue accommodating you.

I live somewhere with no travel restrictions – can I transit through alert level 4 areas, for example to use the airport or to pass between England and Ireland?

Yes, this is permitted, but you should keep all necessary stops within areas in alert level 4 to a minimum, and minimise all contact with people as much as possible.

I live in an area that is at alert level 4 but I am currently on holiday outside of Wales. When do I need to return home?

You should return home as soon as you can. We recognise that some people will be unable to return home before alert level 4 restrictions come in to force, for example because they are booked on a flight which cannot be changed. In these circumstances you should return home at the earliest opportunity.

Can I travel to and from my second home when alert level 4 restrictions are in place?

Travel in Wales without a reasonable excuse is an offence while alert level 4 restrictions are in place. Travelling into, out of or within Wales to visit, check, inspect, or stay in a second home or holiday home is not a reasonable excuse. 

The same rules apply to caravans, boats and other temporary accommodation.

Caravan owners will need to make arrangements with the site owners to winter-ise their caravans after alert level 4 restrictions are lifted unless there are pressing health and safety or insurance issues. Any travel on those exceptional grounds, to either a caravan or second home, must be for the purpose of dealing with the issue and be for as short a time as possible. This should not, therefore, necessitate an overnight stay.

Is public transport still operating?

Services are continuing, particularly during peak times. However, bus and rail timetables have been reduced and potentially subject to late cancellations. Face coverings must be worn on public transport. Please check the latest service information before you travel.

Can taxis still operate?

Yes, taxis can still operate where measures are in place to mitigate the risks which are involved when sharing a vehicle. However, all journeys must be for one of the very limited purposes allowed under alert level 4 restrictions. Face coverings must be worn in taxis.

Can I still have repair and maintenance work done on my vehicle?

Yes, if this is necessary and cannot reasonably be deferred.

My MOT is due – do I still have to get it done?

Yes, you still need a valid MOT certificate if you need to use your vehicle for essential travel.  

Can I car share or give someone a lift?

Please avoid sharing a car with another person outside your household. You can follow this guidance on travelling safely.

Can I have driving lessons?

No, driving and riding lessons should not take place.

I have a driving or motorcycle practical test booked during this period – can it go ahead?

No – you should rearrange your test. There is currently no charge for rearranging your test with DVSA.

I have a theory test booked during this period – can it go ahead?

No – you should rearrange your test. There is currently no charge for rearranging your test with DVSA.

Source: gov.wales

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