Posted: Fri 24th Apr 2020

Revised coronavirus rules for Wales unveiled – go out with a reasonable excuse but “you can’t remain outside to do other things”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 24th, 2020

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The stay-at-home regulations are being revised in Wales to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Welsh Government is changing the core requirement for people not to leave the place where they live, to a requirement not to leave or remain away from that place.

Wednesday saw a similar strengthening of the law in England, with Wales having its own versions, however the exact regulations for Wales are not public as of yet.

Welsh Government say the changes will help clarify that people who leave their home with a reasonable excuse – such as going out to shop for food, for healthcare or for work – cannot remain outside to do other things.

This appears to close a loophole where someone could leave home with a reasonable excuse, however then proceed to do other things.

The changes are also intended to clamp down on the use of second homes and discourage people from exercising outside their local area

There are some new arrangements that allow people with particular health conditions or disabilities to leave home to exercise more than once a day. This will help families with children with learning disabilities and autism in particular.

Announcing today’s changes to the regulations, which follow the first statutory three-week review of the law, the First Minister said:

“The restrictions are staying in place, which mean you must stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

“Over the last few months, we have taken unprecedented steps to protect everyone, but particularly those most at risk from serious illness. This approach has helped the NHS prepare and cope with coronavirus and it has also helped to save many lives.

“The changes we are introducing supplement the rules already in force but they respond to some challenges being faced in parts of the country and by families throughout Wales.

“Our message has not changed – anyone can get coronavirus, anyone can spread it. So please, stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.”

Other changes, that will come into force at 00:01 on Saturday, include:

  • Applying the 2m physical distancing duty on premises used for “click and collect” style services – this duty is already in place for other workplaces, which remain open;
  • Widening the definition of vulnerable person to include other specific groups or conditions where people could benefit from assistance and to whom providing supplies is a reasonable excuse for another person to leave home (for example, people with dementia);
  • Extending the physical distancing duty to cafés accessible by the public in hospitals, and those responsible for canteens in schools, prisons and for use by the armed forces, to ensure all reasonable measures are put in place.

The Welsh Government has also asked the four police forces in Wales to provide further advice about whether existing provisions intended to prevent people from travelling to second homes in Wales need to be further strengthened.

The changes come as First Minister Mark Drakeford will today announce a new framework and seven key questions to help lead Wales out of the pandemic. Welsh Government say this will help determine when the right time comes for the stay-at-home restrictions to be eased.

BBC Wales appears to have been given the seven key questions ahead of others, these were published on Thursday:

  • Would easing a restriction have a negative effect on containing the virus?
  • Does a particular measure pose a low risk of further infection?
  • How can it be monitored and enforced?
  • Can it be reversed quickly if it creates unintended consequences?
  • Does it have a positive economic benefit?
  • Does it have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing?
  • Does it have a positive impact on equality?

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