Wales' 'circuit-breaker' coronavirus lockdown: Your questions answered

161020 Lockdown Wales
The streets of Wales will once again be quiet as people are urged to stay at home. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government will impose a nationwide lockdown from Friday in an attempt to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

It means Wales will be under restrictions similar to those imposed when it first went into lockdown in March, with people told to stay at home and non-essential businesses shut.

Here, we look at the key questions surrounding the country’s new 'fire-break' restrictions.

  • When does the Wales-wide lockdown begin and end?

The new restrictions will come into force from 6pm on Friday 23 October and remain in place until Monday 9 November, which includes the school half-term holiday.

The lockdown will span three weekends in total.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the lockdown would not be extended past 9 November.

  • My area is currently under 'local lockdown'. Will this continue?

No. These new rules replace local lockdown measures from Friday and will apply across the whole of Wales.

  • When can people leave their homes?

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including to obtain essential supplies for their household, to exercise, to seek or provide vital services (such as care or medicine), and to attend schools that reopen after half-term.

You must work from home if you can. People who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces, can do so - provided their workplace remains open.

Visiting a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects is also allowed. This will allow people to do so on Remembrance Sunday, which is to be held on Sunday 8 November - one day before the restrictions end.

Attending ceremonies for weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals will be permitted, as well as attending court hearings, or to access services provided to victims or imminent victims of crime or domestic abuse.

People have been asked to work from home wherever possible.
  • Can people meet up with other households?

People are only allowed to meet with people they live with, both indoors and outdoors.

You cannot form an extended household. However, exceptions are given to adults living alone and single parent households, who are permitted to 'bubble' with one other household. This will allow you to spend time with the people in that household as if you lived with 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. You can also visit someone on compassionate grounds, if necessary.

Where parental responsibility is shared, existing arrangements can continue and the child can move between both parents, and therefore between both parents’ households.

  • What is going to shut?

Certain businesses and venues, including most shops, bars and restaurants, beauty services, leisure centres, recycling centres, gyms and libraries will have to close.

Pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants are permitted to run a takeaway service if safe to do so.

Primary schools will remain open other than during the half-term holiday, while secondary schools will reopen after the half-term for children in years seven and eight only.

Older secondary pupils will be able to come in to take any exams, but other than that will continue learning from home for an extra week.

Childcare services will remain open.

People are allowed to leave home for essential services, such as groceries. Credit: PA Images
  • How far can I travel to the supermarket or other essential service?

There are no set rules on this, but people are asked to stay as close to home as possible.

Those venturing outside for essential services are advised to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid crowded spaces wherever possible, particularly indoors. Alternative approaches such as online services and deliveries should be used wherever possible.

You should not travel long distances to access click-and-collect services.

  • Can people travel into Wales from elsewhere in the UK?

Travel to a workplace in Wales is permitted, as is travelling from Wales to a workplace that is another part of the UK.

But Mr Drakeford said those who have booked holidays in Wales would not be able to enter as it is not classed as a reasonable excuse.

Students from Wales but living outside elsewhere in the UK should not return to their home address, while students studying in Wales but with home addresses outside the country should also remain where they are.

  • Can I go on holiday?

No. Travel is only permitted for people with a reasonable excuse, and travelling out of Wales for a holiday is not one of the permitted reasons.

People with holiday bookings in the next 17 days are advised to contact their holiday provider or travel insurance company as soon as possible to find out what to do next.

There are no restrictions on exercise, but people are asked to start and end at their own home.
  • Are there restrictions on exercise?

Under these rules, there are no limits to distance or time for a person’s exercise, though it should start and finish from their home.

People cannot exercise with anyone they do not live with, as meeting up with another household is not permitted indoors or outdoors.

  • Will shielding be reinstated?

The Welsh Government says it won't be necessary for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to adopt strict shielding measures during this period.

  • What are the penalties for breaking the rules?

People may be told to go home or removed from where they are and returned home by police.

A fixed penalty notice of £60 will be in place for those who refuse to comply, with the amount rising to £120 for a second breach.

  • What will happen after Monday 9 November?

Following the end of the fire-break, a new set of national rules will be introduced, covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate. The details of this will be announced nearer the time.