News Bulletin: Stay local – Wales takes first steps out of lockdown; Extra £150m to support businesses in Wales; Reopening of self-contained holiday accommodation; Addo - a pledge to keep Wales safe while staying local

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12 March 2021


Stay local – Wales takes first steps out of lockdown

The stay-at-home restrictions will be replaced by a new interim stay local rule in Wales from tomorrow (Saturday 13 March) as part of a package of measures, beginning the process of unlocking the strict coronavirus regulations, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The return of children to face-to-face learning in school will continue to be prioritised but there will also be a gradual and phased approach to relaxing restrictions in other parts of society.

The new stay local rule will mean people can leave their homes and travel within their local area – usually within five miles. Local outdoor sports facilities will also be opened.

The five-mile rule of thumb will be set out in guidance – people living in some parts of Wales, especially rural areas, may need to travel further than five miles to access shops and other public services.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Thanks to the fantastic efforts everyone has made, we can make some changes to the current restrictions, which will be phased in over the coming weeks.

“The number of cases of coronavirus continues to fall overall; the pressure on our NHS is easing and our vaccine programme continues to go from strength to strength.

“But the very clear advice we have is that the virus has not gone away – the highly infectious Kent variant is the dominant strain in Wales and as soon as we start to mix again, the virus will come too.

“With every step we take to return to a more normal life, we are responsible for what happens next. While we will welcome more freedom to move around locally and meet with family and friends, we cannot afford to let down our guard.”

From Saturday 13 March:

  • No more than four people from two households will be able to meet in their local area outdoors, including in gardens. Children under 11 and carers do not count towards this limit. There must be no indoors mixing and social distancing should be followed.
  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen, including tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens. A maximum of four people from two households can take part in activities using local sports facilities.
  • Indoor care home visits can resume for one designated visitor, with the permission of the care home.

From Monday 15 March:

  • All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring in year 10 and 12 pupils, to support them to progress to the next stage of their learning, and more learners will return to colleges. There will also be flexibility for in-school check-ins for all other pupils. All learners will return after the Easter break.
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen by appointment only to cut hair.

From Monday 22 March:

  • The first steps to re-open non-essential retail will begin. Restrictions on the sale of non-essential items will be lifted for those shops, which are currently open.
  • Garden centres will also reopen.

An additional £150m will be available to support businesses to the end of March, which are not yet able to open.  

The extra funding will see businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates qualify for an additional payment of up to £5,000.  

During the third week of the review period, we will take stock of the latest evidence before confirming changes for the Easter holidays. If the public health conditions continue to be favourable, from 27 March:

  • The stay local restrictions will be lifted to allow people to travel within Wales.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation will re-open for one household.
  • Organised children’s activities outdoors will restart.
  • Libraries will reopen.

The review on 1 April will consider whether all remaining shops and close contact services can reopen on the 12 April. This is in line with planned re-opening in England.

First Minister Mark Drakeford added:

“We need everyone’s help as we start to unlock these restrictions. We all need to follow the rules, maintain social distancing, good hand hygiene and to wear face coverings in indoor public places.

“We all want to see Wales re-open and the return of a more normal life. This is within sight – but only if we can keep the virus under control. No one wants us to have to reintroduce strict restrictions, to retreat from the progress we have made. Only by working together, can we help keep Wales safe.”

The changes follow the regular statutory review of the coronavirus regulations by Welsh Ministers, using the latest scientific and medical evidence from the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Cell (TAC) and the advice from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales.

At his press briefing lunchtime today, the First Minister also indicated:

As we look ahead to the end of April, if we continue to see an improving public health picture, we will be able to consider what more we can do to support people to meet each other and what we can do to continue reopening our economy, for example, by looking at outdoor hospitality, the wedding sector and gyms.”

Extra £150m to support businesses in Wales

A further £150 million has been made available to support Welsh businesses in dealing with the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the Welsh Government said the funding would be confirmed pending today’s regulations review.

The additional support will help businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates and will operate as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund.

This will see an eligible business with a rateable value of under £12,000 receive an extra £4,000 grant payment.

Firms with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000.

The funding, which will help businesses with their costs up to 31 March, will be available to firms regardless of the number of employees and ensures micro businesses benefit from the support.

Local authorities, who have been crucial throughout the pandemic in getting money to businesses quickly, will again be administering and distributing these payments.

Businesses that pay non-domestic rates and have already received a payment since the firebreak in October do not need to take action. However, businesses that have not registered with their local authority, should take action now to ensure they receive the financial support they are entitled to.

Today’s announcement builds on the rates holiday for eligible businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors in Wales which has been extended for a further 12 months.

In combination with the Welsh Government’s existing Small Business Rates Relief scheme, this ensures that more than 70,000 businesses will continue to pay no rates at all in 2021-22.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than £1.9bn of Welsh Government support has reached businesses throughout Wales. This has been vital in protecting firms through this incredibly difficult time and safeguarding 160,000 jobs.

Welsh Government support is in addition to that available from the UK Government.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said:

“Today’s announcement of £150m in additional support is crucial to our continued efforts to help businesses right across Wales through what remains a very challenging period of time.

“As a Government, we have responded at pace to protect Welsh firms and jobs through our package of support which is worth more than £2 billion. In addition, we have also announced we are extending the 100% rates relief package for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for a further 12 months.

“As a result of our direct action, we have been able to dedicate more funding to support businesses than we have received from the UK Government.

“I also want to thank local authorities once again for their commitment to get funds out to businesses as quickly as possible. Their dedication has been absolutely crucial over this past year in ensuring businesses receive what they are entitled to.

“We will continue to do all that it can to safeguard firms and livelihoods as incredible work and commitment to combat the virus continues across Wales.”

Re-opening of self-contained holiday accommodation

Options for reopening and a final decision will be made at the next review of the regulations on 25 March.

Bookings can be made for stays from 27 March, but this is at people’s own risk and they should check with the accommodation provider before they book.

This includes:

  • Hotels and other serviced accommodation (e.g. B&Bs, hostels, etc.) that do provide en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals.
  • Other accommodation that is entirely self-contained (e.g. self-catering cottages, apartments, etc.)
  • Glamping or any other accommodation with ensuite shower/bath, WC and kitchen facilities
  • Holiday caravans, Touring caravans (including seasonal),  motorhomes and campervans where they have their own on-board shower, WC and kitchen facilities

Caravan & Touring Sites will need to ensure the strict application of industry guidance on shared waste disposal and water points.

All shared facilities, aside from water and disposal points will remain closed including toilets, shower blocks, laundry, nightclubs, swimming pools

Bars, Restaurants and Cafes can operate a Take Away service only.

Accommodation can only be let to members of the same household and their support bubble.

Addo - a pledge to keep Wales safe while staying local

As we see restrictions eased slightly across Wales from this weekend, and whilst we’re still not in a position to welcome visitors back to Wales just yet, being able to explore our local area a little further afield will be welcomed. 

In anticipation of more people enjoying the outdoors and in partnership with our environment colleagues, we have devised a campaign to re-inforce positive behaviours, aimed initially at those of us within Wales who will be visiting and enjoying open spaces.

Addo means to promise. The Addo campaign asks the people of Wales to make a collective promise – to care for each other, to care for this epic land and to care for our communities.  The focus of this campaign will be to highlight the importance of the Countryside Code to address some of the issues we saw last year, such as littering, fly-camping and parking problems. Addo will be delivered in a consistent, friendly, welcoming and warm way to focus on the benefits of spending time outdoors and to help minimise the pressures on our open spaces and landscapes. 

The campaign will initially be rolled out within Wales and will include a mix of digital, PR, out of home advertising in key service stations as well as bus advertising.  The second phase will include TV, radio and will be extended to target visitors from further afield.

Assets are available on our asset library for you to download and use within your own social channels and marketing to support the Addo campaign. The campaign creatives will also be available to view shortly - providing a flavour of the style, tone and messaging. Please check back regularly as more assets will be added over the next few weeks. 

The pledge can be signed virtually on

Useful COVID-19 information

Stay up to date with tourism industry news

We are committed to providing the support and assurance the business community needs during these unprecedented difficult times and have issued several Coronavirus (COVID-19) related bulletins which can be found on the Tourism Industry Coronavirus (COVID-19) Bulletins page. 

Business Wales is providing businesses with tailored support and advice about dealing with coronavirus, from financial and supply chain planning to advice on staffing issues. We would advise Tourism businesses and stakeholders in Wales wanting specific guidance to visit the Business Wales website or call Business Wales helpline on 03000 6 03000, and to regularly visit the Public Health Wales website for up-to-date public health information for you, your staff and your visitors.