Posted: Thu 5th Nov 2020

Post ‘firebreak’ guidance around who are you allowed to meet in and outside of your home published

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Nov 5th, 2020

England has entered into a four-week lockdown today after MPs approved Boris Johnson’s plan for tougher coronavirus restrictions by 516 votes to 38.

A two week Wales-wide firebreak lockdown – that one local conservative MP (who backed the four week lockdown in England) slammed as being a “draconian set of rules” – comes to an end at a minute past midnight on Monday November 9.

Following the end of the firebreak “people and not rules” are at the heart of Wales’ response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic said First Minister Mark Drakeford.

“As we promised, businesses which were required to close during the firebreak will be able to reopen, and we will remove the requirement to stay home and very tough restrictions on meeting people.”

“However, we will all need to work hard to keep Wales safe by following some simple guidance to protect each other, manage pressure on the NHS and reduce the risk that further firebreaks are needed.” The Welsh government has said.

There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, however people will not be able to leave Wales without a reasonable excuse.

Similarly people from England will also not be able to travel to Wales without a reasonable excuse.

A set of frequently asked questions on the new measures which come into play on Monday have now been published.

Here is what they say about who you are allowed to meet up with in and outside of your home.

Who are you allowed to meet up with in your home?

People who you don’t live with cannot come into your home, unless you have formed an extended household (or “bubble”) with them (except in very limited circumstances, such as tradespeople having to undertake work in your home).

Likewise there are only very limited circumstances in which you can enter other people’s homes.

The Welsh government says: “Much of the spread of coronavirus has happened in people’s homes.”

“While some people might be able to keep their houses relatively safe for visitors, people inevitably behave differently at home.”

“We also cannot check people’s private homes like we can check that shops, cafes, workplaces and other public places are following Covid safety rules.”

“This is why the rules have to be tougher in private homes.”

What is an extended household?

  • two households are able to join together to form an extended household.
  • you can spend time with them in your home or garden, or in their home or garden.
  • you can stay in each other’s homes overnight.
  • you meet up with them in groups of larger than four in other outdoor places.

I you have formed an extended household before, this is what the Welsh government says about whether you have to stick to that or can bubble with someone else.

“As the rules are changing on extended households on November 9th, the slate is effectively wiped clean.”

“You can now bubble with any other household. However, once you have agreed and joined that new extended household, neither household can leave to form a new one.”

The Welsh government says: “We will shortly be publishing guidance on seeing people in private homes to see the rules on who can be in an extended household, how to choose who to bubble with and how it works for people with different types of living arrangements.”

There is no geographical limit on who can be in your extended household.

“That said, the government recommends that you form your extended household with a household that lives locally wherever possible. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where there might be a higher rate of infection.”

You can go into an extended household if it is in England? “But the arrangements will need to comply with the rules in both countries.”

Can you meet people you don’t live with in your garden?

“Gardens are treated as part of the home.” The guidance states.

“This is because in winter it is much more likely that people together in a garden will need or want to go indoors.

That means you can only meet the people in your extended household or bubble there. The same applies to visiting other people in their gardens.” The Welsh government says.

Meeting people outside the home – Can you meet people from outside your bubble?

Yes, but you cannot meet them in a private home or garden if you are not part of their extended household.

Away from private homes and gardens, you can meet other people.

The Welsh government ask people:

  • please try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally
  • please maintain social distancing, including outdoors
  • please meet people outdoors rather than indoors where possible
  • avoid doing activities that might increase the risk of transmission (for example shouting to be heard over loud music, or singing in close proximity)

“If you are meeting people you do not live with, in most circumstances the absolute maximum number of people who can gather together is four (not including any children aged under 11).

Four is an “absolute maximum number of people that do not all live together (not including children under 11) who can gather together, and not a target.”

The smaller the number of people who gather, the lower the risk.” The guidance states.

You can “in theory” vary the people you meet, but “we ask you please to try and be restrained in how many different people you see.”

“It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally.” The Welsh government says.

“Going out with people in your extended household is also likely to be safer, as you may well be spending time in close proximity with them anyway.”

“For this reason, as long as you remain outdoors, the maximum number of four people gathering together does not apply when all the people gathered together are from the same extended household.”

“However, the maximum of four people who do not live together does still apply in any outdoor areas attached to shops, cafes, pubs and similar – for example it would apply in outdoor parts of a car dealership or garden centre, and in a beer garden.”

“In general, we are asking people to think about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking primarily about what you are allowed to do.

Can you meet one group of people, then meet another group later the same day?

This is not forbidden in law, “but it is not recommended.” the guidance states.

“If you want to see different groups of people, the longer you leave between seeing different groups of people, the more likely you are to keep them and yourself safe.

This will allow you to be relatively confident you have not developed symptoms of coronavirus from the first group of people you met.” The Welsh government says.

Can you visit someone in a care home?

Yes – visits to care homes are permitted by the regulations.

“Local authorities in Wales are responsible for advising care home providers on the approach to care home visits in the local authority area.

Individual providers will need to ensure they are able to support visits safely. We recommend checking with the relevant care home for their specific visiting arrangements.” The guidance states.

“Only through everybody trying their hardest to follow this guidance will we be able to avoid further lockdowns.” The Welsh government said.

You can read the full Q&A details here: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance#section-39235

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