Q&A: Two-week Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown

The Welsh Government will impose a nationwide two-week lockdown from Friday in an attempt to reduce transmissions 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 “firebreak” restrictions.

– When does it start and when does it end?

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

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the lockdown would be a “fixed period” and would not be extended past that time.

– 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, exercise, to seek or provide care, and to attend schools that reopen after half term.

Workers can travel to their jobs if it is safe for them to do so and their workplace remains open, but are encouraged to work from home if possible.

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

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.

Coronavirus graphic
Coronavirus graphic

– Can people meet up with other households?

People are only allowed to meet up with people they live with, both indoors and outdoors, and this also applies to exercise.

Extended households are suspended, but exceptions are given to adults living alone, single parent households, those providing care for someone including childcare, and those who need to visit someone on compassionate grounds.

– What is going to shut?

Businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants, non-essential shops, leisure centres, gyms and libraries will have to close.

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.

Coronavirus graphic
Coronavirus graphic

– 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.

❓ Coronavirus circuit break: frequently asked questions

❓ Cyfnod atal y coronafeirws: cwestiynau cyffredinhttps://t.co/y3ctuNgx0D

— Mark Drakeford MS/AS 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 (@MarkDrakeford) October 19, 2020

– Are there restrictions on exercise?

Unlike during the previous lockdown and under Wales’ five-mile rule, 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.

– 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.