What you can and can’t do as Wales starts to downgrade coronavirus alert level

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As more lockdown restrictions continue to be eased, it marks a transition period for Wales as we gradually move from alert level 4 to alert level 3.

Coronavirus transmission here is decreasing overall and more than a third of Wales' population have received a first vaccine dose but Welsh Government are keen to take a "step-by-step approach" to lifting lockdown rules.

It said "a wholesale jump" between the alert levels would "endanger" the progress we have made so far.

The final steps to reach alert level 3 will be considered by Welsh Government in its April 22 review - but what are we allowed to do as we approach that milestone?

  • Travel and tourism

A 'stay local' rule remains in place until March 27. On that Saturday, Wales-wide travel will be permitted and self-contained accommodation providers can reopen.

This means you can go on a holiday within Wales to somewhere like a lodge, caravan or B&B - as long as the room does not require access to shared washing facilities, toilets or kitchens.

However you still cannot leave Wales for reasons deemed non-essential and holiday accommodation owners cannot book visitors from England.

This ban on leaving or entering Wales without a reasonable excuse is expected to last until April 12.

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  • Meeting up with others

Another change to the rules on March 27 is that up to six people from two different households can meet outdoors to exercise.

A limit of six people from two different households is also in place for meeting up outside. Support bubbles for those living alone also still apply.

The rule on indoor care home visits remains unchanged - meaning each care home resident is still allowed to see one visitor. Physical contact is allowed so loved ones can hold each others' hands.

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  • Places you can visit and activities you can take part in

Several other minor steps into alert level 3 are being taken on March 27. Libraries and some outdoor attractions can reopen.

This means visits to historic places, gardens and open air monuments can take place.

Organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under 18s will be able to resume too.

  • Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons

After almost three months, haircuts were back on the table for people in Wales as businesses could take bookings again from March 15. Other close contact services face a longer wait.

As long as conditions allow, Welsh Government said places like beauty salons and tattoo parlous can also reopen from April 12.

  • Travel

The ability to leave and enter Wales could resume again on April 12. Welsh Government will review whether the Wales-wide travel restriction needs to stay in place or can be removed from this date.

  • Schools

Welsh Government have repeatedly emphasised that getting students back into school is a priority. Primary school pupils and some secondary school learners are currently having face-to-face learning but a wider return will be considered by Welsh Government, commencing on April 12.

On that date, the aim is for a full return for learners from all levels of education.

  • Shopping

April 12 could also be an important date for shoppers and shop owners as Welsh Government hope all non-essential businesses will be able to reopen their doors.

Supermarkets and other shops that are already open have been able to sell non-essential items since March 22.

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The Welsh Government will confirm the following dates and areas at their review on April 22.

  • Outdoor hospitality

One of the areas Welsh Government will consider on April 22 is the reopening of outdoor hospitality. Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes have all had to close completely or rely on takeaway trade since Christmas but a trip to your local pub garden could be an option soon.

They could be allowed to reopen outdoors from April 26.

  • Gyms

If the public health situation continues to remain positive and vaccination rates continue to increase, gyms, leisure and fitness facilities may be able to reopen on May 10.

Welsh Government said this would be for individual or one-to-one sessions, so group classes would still not be allowed.

Recent research by Public Health Wales suggested visiting a gym, supermarket or restaurant did not put you at high risk from contracting coronavirus.

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  • Meeting others

Extended households could return from May 10. This would allow up to two households to pair up and meet without social distancing.

  • Attractions and activities

The reopening of community centres and other outdoor attractions, such as funfairs and theme parks, could happen on April 26.

From May 3, more people can take part in organised activities, limited to 30 people outdoors and 15 indoors.

This would also allow wedding receptions or wakes to take place again, with the same limits (30 outdoors, 15 indoors) on how many people can attend.

Limits on the number of people at wedding ceremonies would remain in place and continue to be set by individual venues.

  • Indoor hospitality

On 13 May, the Welsh Government will consider allowing indoor hospitality to reopen on 17 May, as well as children's indoor activities and community centres.

The remaining visitor accommodation will also be considered for reopening. Self-contained accommodation providers were allowed to welcome back guests earlier this month.

The resumption of organised indoor activities for up to 15 adults will also be considered.

  • What about beyond the May 13 review?

Once all the above has happened, Wales will officially be in alert level 3.

Welsh Government will then continue to use information such as hospital admissions, NHS capacity, critical care admissions and Covid deaths to decide whether to continue gradually moving down to alert level 2. Figures for that data would need to show stability for around three weeks for ministers to be confident improvements had been made.

A weekly summary of this data analysis will be published by Welsh Government to help public understanding of the current health situation.

The move down the levels will be no quicker than one level at a time.

At any point, Welsh Government may decide to stop easing restrictions or even go back up the alert levels - if virus transmission begins to rise or the vaccine rollout stalls.

While the Welsh Government said it hopes to be able to maintain an all-Wales approach, different alert levels for different localities or regions could also be considered in future.

The Government's Coronavirus Control Plan states if a new variant began to cause concern or if immunity from vaccines begins to wane, it "would continue to prioritise the relaxation of lower risk activities first, such as more activity outdoors".

The official three-weekly reviews will continue to happen, with the next one after May 13 being June 3.