'Stay local' rule distance could vary depending on location in Wales, says Health Minister

The First Minister is expected to announce on Friday that the 'stay at home' rule is being replaced with a 'stay local' mandate. Credit: PA Images

People in different parts of Wales can expect varying restrictions on how far they can travel if a 'stay local' rule is introduced as part of Friday's review of lockdown measures.

The Health Minister told a press conference on Wednesday that people living in more rural areas would be allowed to travel further than those in towns or cities.

Wales is currently under an alert level 4 lockdown which includes a 'stay at home' rule. People are only allowed to leave the house for essential reasons like to work or to buy food.

The First Minister is expected to announce that this rule will be lifted by Monday, when he confirms any changes to restrictions on Friday afternoon.

Mr Gething recognised that people who live in built up cities would be able to access far more services than those living in rural parts. Credit: PA Images

Last year a controversial 'five mile' rule was brought in, to stop people travelling outside their local area. This was scrapped in July.

Mr Gething told Wednesday's Welsh Government briefing that unlike the previous measure, travel limits would take account of the geography of different areas.

He said: "If, like me, you're fortunate enough to live in Penarth, then a few miles from Penarth you can do lots of things.

"If I lived in the middle of Powys or Anglesey, within a few miles I might not be able to do them, so we do recognise that if we go to stay local, it will be slightly different depending on where you live."

He said any new rules would likely last a "few weeks", adding: "Then we think we may be in a position to go beyond that."

With the possibility of self-contained accommodation being allowed to open in time for Easter trade, the Health Minister also acknowledged that the rules on travel would need to be relaxed even further for that to happen.

"We do know that if we're going to have an effective restart for parts of the tourism sector here, then a 'stay local' period probably doesn't mean those businesses can open," he said.

"We're asking people to stick with it for a period of weeks, and to be sensible about it."

Other changes to the lockdown restrictions that are expected to be announced on Friday include the reintroduction of indoor care home visits and the wider return to school for primary pupils and some secondary school students.