Posted: Wed 24th Feb 2021

Wales could return to a “stay local” message in the coming weeks as lockdown measures are reviewed

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This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

Wales may move to a “stay local” message in the coming weeks as lockdown restrictions are reviewed, the health minister said today.

Under the level four lockdown people are only allowed to leave their home for essential travel, work if they cannot work from home or to exercise.

Such measures have been in place since December 20.

However over the last few days all four nations have outlined how certain measures could start being eased, although an exact “roadmap” beyond April has yet to be announced by the Welsh Government.

On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a four stage roadmap to ‘cautiously’ ease lockdown in England, which could see most restrictions lifted by the summer.

In the roadmap, a number of key dates were given starting with a return for all schools in England on 8 March and culminating with what would essentially be the end of Covid restrictions on 21 June.

The plan also included self accomodation holidays and the potential for travel abroad in the coming months.

Asked about whether the ban on travelling from Wales into England and vice versa had been looked at following the UK Government’s roadmap earlier this week, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it could be moving towards a “stay local” message in the coming weeks.

This would be similar to the message in place for part of last summer and during the initial localised lockdowns in place towards the end of the year.

However nothing has been finalised, with the outcome of the next review not due for another three weeks.

He added that any changes would need to consider the “respective rules” in England.

Mr Gething said: “At this point in time, we may be moving to a stay local period, that depends on what we’re able to do successfully over the next two and a half weeks.

“If we’re in a position to further reduce, or further maintain the suppression of coronavirus, then we may be able to move from stay home to stay local, that would be really positive. We’ll have to think about what stay local means.

“England were contemplating a move to stay local later than that. So actually, in terms of cross border movement, it would be the law in England that will prevent people from moving either into England, or from England into Wales.

“That’s part of the reason why the four governments need to talk to each other, as we have tried to, and we’ve been very open to doing.

“I recognise there are some border areas in both northeast Wales but also right across the border in mid Wales and south east Wales, where the reality of community links and services mean that people cross the border as a normal part of a essential day to day service.

“So when we go into thinking about if stay at home is going to come to an end, and that is an if, what stay local might mean.

The same challenge will also be for the UK Government acting for England only if they’re going to move to stay local. And of course, there was some dispute about whether stay local was a good or a bad thing previously, but they’ve indicated that’s what they’re likely to do but at a later point in April.

“So there are very practical decision making points for us here in Wales when we get to our next review and England gets to its next significant unlocking event, which they have planned for April 12.”



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