Lockdown easing: Cross border travel to resume, all shops to reopen and children return to school from today
Lockdown rules will be eased from today, Monday April 12, allowing non essential retail to open for the first time since December.
All children will also return to face to face education as well as all post-16 learners returning to further education.
In addition, restrictions on travelling into and out of Wales will be lifted.
Covid cases have fallen in Flintshire to the lowest levels since September, on Saturday the figure stood at 16.7 cases per 100,000 people, which is below the average in Wales.
On Friday the Welsh government said pressure on hospitals continues to ease, “with the number of confirmed cases in hospital beds now at 89.
This is 26% lower than last Thursday and is the lowest position since 22 September 2020.”
In England pub gardens will be able to open and restaurants can serve food outside from Monday, indoor gyms and swimming pools will also open.
In Wales, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will have to wait until May 3 to reopen for individual or one-to-one training, though that date was brought forward from May 10.
The British Retail Consortium has said the public have a key part to play to “creating a safe and enjoyable retail environment for shoppers and shopworkers.”
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “Retailers are excited about welcoming back their customers.”
“They have spent hundreds of millions on making their premises Covid-secure; weeks preparing shops for reopening; and countless hours training staff on the latest safety measures.”
“The three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately £30 billion in lost sales – and it vital that they are able to make their contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.”
“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up.”
“Many of us will be looking forward to returning to our favourite shop in the coming weeks, and we all have a duty to keep each other safe.”
“Everyone should be considerate and respectful to their fellow shoppers and hard-working shop staff.”
“This way we can all enjoy shopping and support our local communities.”
Dr Christopher Williams, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“As restrictions are eased we need your continued support to control the spread of Coronavirus.
“As schools return please do not send your child to school if they are unwell, even if you are not sure if they have Coronavirus.
“When you take your child to school, always keep your distance from other parents, wear a face covering, and don’t stay around and chat.”
“Please don’t invite other children or their parents to your home to play or stay indoors, even if they are in the same bubble at school.”
“We need to continue to limit the numbers of people we meet socially to minimise spread of the virus.”
“Please continue to work from home if at all possible.”
“This slight easing of Coronavirus lockdown rules is encouraging, however while the number of cases is declining overall, we remind the general public that that Coronavirus has not gone away, and that there is still a large number of people who have not been vaccinated.”
“It is therefore vital that we all maintain constant vigilance, by keeping two metres apart from people that you don’t live with, practicing hand hygiene, and wearing a mask in indoor environments.”
“Welsh Government restrictions state that you should not go into any other household or mix indoors with other people who you don’t live with.”
“Currently a maximum of six people from two households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens.”
From Monday 12 April, the following relaxations will go ahead:
- The full return of children to schools for face-to-face education, all post-16 learners will return to further education and training centres, and university campus’ will be able to open for blended face-to-face/online learning for all students;
- All remaining shops will reopen, completing the phased reopening of non-essential retail;
- All remaining close contact services will open, including mobile services;
- Travel restrictions on traveling into and out of Wales will be lifted. However, restrictions on travel to countries outside the Common Travel Area without a reasonable excuse, remain in place. The Common Travel Area means the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland;
- Wedding ‘show-arounds’ by appointment are allowed;
Restrictions on political canvassing are removed, subject to canvassers doing so safely.
Further easements to restrictions in the coming weeks will be subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. These will be confirmed at the next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations on 22 April.
On Monday 26 April:
- Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, would be allowed to reopen;
- Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants. Indoor hospitality will remain closed except for takeaways;
- Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people can again take place (previously Monday 3 May);
- Weddings receptions can take place outdoors for up to 30 people (previously Monday 3 May).
On Monday 3 May (previously Monday 10 May):
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen. This will include individual or one-to-one training but not exercise classes;
- Extended household will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors.