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Coronavirus: what are the new rules in Wales?

DC
BY Douglas Cameron
Health & Safety
BG Orange

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 2) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 18) Regulations 2020 came into force at 6pm on 10th October 2020.

Local restrictions are present in 17 areas.  This is a summary of the guidance, which applies to all of the areas in which restrictions are in place.

 

General Rules

  • You can leave your area with “reasonable excuse” e.g. going to work (where you cannot work from home) or using public services that are not available locally.  This includes leaving your local area to visit family or close friends on compassionate grounds (physical or mental illness, a bereavement or concern about wellbeing or welfare).
  • People from outside the area should leave unless they have a “reasonable excuse” to remain, and be careful when heading home (if people are symptomatic they should isolate).

 

Home Life

  • Do not leave the area unless to provide care or to help someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child, or a vulnerable adult.  However, think of possible alternatives to prevent this.
  • Extended households (or “bubbles”) with other households are no longer permitted.  If you want to meet socially with people other than your household, it must be outdoors.
  • Can continue existing arrangements for access and contact if you share parental responsibility for your child with another person, including leaving the local area. Equally informal childcare by grandparents and other people is permitted. (assuming to illness symptoms of child or adult)
  • A maximum of 30 people can meet outdoors but for the time being they will need to be people who also live in the area
  • Visitors can meet in a house's garden and can go through the house to reach the garden. We did not see a maximum stated in the guidance.
     

Education and Childcare

  • Schools and colleges remain open. School and college will risk assess the need to wear face coverings. Secondary aged pupils expected to wear face coverings on all forms of transport. Teachers permitted to travel out of areas to school/home.
  • University students encouraged to use online resources from home, but can go to University where that is not possible.
  • Childcare settings remain open and where facility is outside the area, travel is permitted for both parents and child minders. Home childminding services are included. Breakfast and “out of school” services can continue.
  • Supervised children’s activities (clubs or classes) can continue. If indoor children aged 11 and over to wear face coverings. Such activities outside the local area are not permitted
  • Registration of births are permitted including travel outside the area (legal requirement).
     

Work and Holidays

  • If you cannot reasonably do your work from home, you can continue to travel to a place of work (whether that is within or outside the area).
  • Trades people can continue to work in people’s homes (following normal prevention rules and where no symptoms are evident). Only attend Highly Vulnerable people where work is deemed essential i.e. people’s safety.
  • Care services provision can continue, including travelling into the area. Such work activities to be subject of risk assessment by employer.
  • Medical appointments outside the area can continue.
  • Hospital visitations are subject to individual Health Boards, the advice is to check first.
  • Care Homes, same as above. Check first. Travel from outside the area only of “compassionate grounds” if permitted by the operator.
  • Second Family Homes, not permitted to visit if outside the area.
  • Travel through the area is permitted where there is no alternative.
  • Travel abroad is not permitted. Residents in the area can holiday in same area.
  • Returning from holiday. The guidance states if you can stay away for longer do so. There may be a further restriction od self-isolation imposed, so get back quickly and then remain in the area. Travel outside the area to secure a holiday home, boat, caravan etc. is permitted but not overnight.
  • Job interviews are permitted outside the area.

  • Collecting Persons from Airport is permitted although collecting non-family household persons is discouraged and a reminder is given to potential self-isolation depending on where person is returning from.

 

Face Coverings

  • Applies to everyone aged 11 and over unless an exception applies.
  • Usual places as expected, indoor public places, public transport (including taxis), shops and shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers, cinemas, museums, gyms, leisure centres, and anywhere that is open to members of the public.
  • Restaurants, pubs, or cafes (until you are seated).
  • This list includes staff.
  • Interesting to note the guidance mentions three-layer type face covering as being appropriate. Further information at https://gov.wales/face-coverings-guidance-public#section-52204
     

Recreation

  • Bars and Pubs are still open. You can only eat and drink indoors with people you live with (other than for single adults or single parent households who have formed a temporary extended household or “bubble”).
  • Hairdressers, Beauty Salons (close contact services) are open for use within the area only, face coverings must be worn. Home visit type services can continue with appropriate controls measures face coverings/hand washing.
  • Places of Worship, Marriages and Civil Partnerships, Cemeteries and Funerals are permitted, if it is within the area and you do not go there with anyone who you do not live with.  No specific guidance relating to Places of Worship, so assumption is social distancing and face coverings.
  • Weddings can still happen attending ceremony and small reception. Guests from outside the area can only attend the ceremony not the reception vice versa people can leave the area for a ceremony but not permitted to attend the reception.
  • Funerals can be attended (wear face coverings) with a small wake. Like weddings, people from outside the area cannot attend the wake and people leaving the area for a funeral cannot attend the wake.
  • Sport, Leisure and Recreation Facilities can be used for exercise with others from within the area, maintaining social distancing, taking steps to minimise risk. Groups or classes of up to 30 people. Outdoor activities in the area are permitted socially distance and up to a maximum of 30 people. Driving to these facilities within the area is permitted.
  • Gymnasiums are open but must maintain all the safety requirements, Wear face covering whenever possible unless certain distanced exercises make it not possible. Cycling permitted within the area. Travelling in and out of the area for sports only permitted for professional sports persons.
  • Vets are operating and travelling outside the area is permitted.
  • Court Attendance is ongoing and travelling outside the area is permitted.
  • Driving Lessons are permitted and in addition the driving test can be held outside the area. Instructor and examiner to have necessary sanitising controls and face coverings must be worn.

 

Enforcement

  • Enforcement will be by Environmental Health and Police.  They have the power to issue fixed penalty notices or recommend prosecution in a magistrates’ court.  They can disperse gatherings, require people to go home and enter property.
  • They can issue premises improvement notices, requiring person responsible for the premises to take specified measures, and if not actioned a premises closure notice can be issued (commercial businesses).
  • Breaches of the Regulations carry a fine of £60; this is increased to £120 for a second offence and continues to double for repeated offences, up to a maximum of £1,920. If prosecuted, however, a court can impose any fine (no limit).

 

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LAW clients can seek coronavirus guidance from the Health & Safety At Work team throughout.

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