CHANGES TO LOCKDOWN: The roadmap out?
A day many of us have been waiting for, it’s been three weeks since the last very small changes to the lockdown in Wales were announced. On Friday the 12th of March, the infection rate dropped down to 41 cases per 100,000 people with 12 people losing their lives with the disease. The number of those being vaccinated also continues to grow, with nearly 1.3 million people in wales having received their first jabs. The current picture means that the following changes will be made after the latest review of restrictions by the welsh government.
Firstly, 'the stay at home' message has changed to 'stay local' - but what does that actually mean - the First minister has said that as a genal rule of thumb one should think of local as a five-mile radius from where you live, however for those who live in more rural areas such as parts of the valleys, for example, it’s a case of using one’s own judgement and go a little further if necessary.
Another piece of welcomed news is that four people from two different households will be able to meet outdoors and socialise for whatever reason, these include people’s gardens, however one should not go inside the house or use the toilet.
On the subject of outdoors, sports facilities such as golf, tennis and basketball will be permitted to re-open and solo visits to care homes are now permitted as well.
Then there comes a string of changes throughout March and April. The first date of note is from Monday the 15th of March, where all primary school children and those in qualification years will be able to return to school. Schools as well as colleges will also have the flexibility to welcome back year 10 and 12 pupils as well. And for those desperately wanting to get their first haircut in months, barbers and hairdressers will be able to resume trade from the 15th of march, with an appointment.
The next set of changes will take place on the 22nd of march where we will see a gradual easing of non-essential shopping as well as non-essential aisles in supermarkets. All garden centres will be able to re-open on this date too.
As the weather hopefully takes a turn for the milder self-contained accommodation will be permitted from the 27th of March if case rates continue to improve before finally, on the 12th of April all shops, including close contact services can open their doors and all pupils will once again be welcomed back to school.
Naturally, one question on many people’s lips is when can I go for a drink in the pub a meal with the family or a workout at the gym? There is no specific plan for reopening the hospitality sector as of yet.
But what if you wanted to travel abroad for a cold one instead? Mr Drakeford has accepted that he was powerless to stop people in Wales from travelling overseas if the UK government commits to its plan to fully reopen foreign travel from the 17 May, however he has asked UK ministers to think very carefully" about allowing foreign travel at such an early date.
One industry however which has received little to no wriggle room is the arts, and despite Boris Johnson’s roadmap allowing theatres to re-open from the 17th of May, there is still a question mark over their re-opening in Wales.
Despite a range of uncertainties and what if’s still determining our lives, we can all hope after 12 months of coronavirus that this will be the last time our lives are put on hold.
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