The First Minister for Wales has announced that the current firebreak lockdown in Wales will end at midnight on Sunday 8 November. What does this mean for climbers and hillwalkers?
As the so-called "firebreak-lockdown" in Wales comes to an end on Monday November 9th, there will be a new set of national measures, which will replace the previous restrictions. The governemnt statement says that once again Wales will take a cautious approach and will ease restrictions gradually to ensure the firebreak has the maximum possible impact on coronavirus. There will be a further review on the situation after a fortnight to see whether any changes are required to the Welsh measures.
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Posted by BMC on Tuesday, 3 November 2020
From Monday 9th November, two households will be able to join together to form an exclusive extended household bubble. To help keep everyone as safe as possible at home, only people from your own household or extended household can meet in your private home or in your garden.
Also, when outside of the home, the maximum number of people who can meet up is four. These don't need to be the same four peole each time but Welsh Government state :
"that means you can in theory vary the people you meet, but we ask you please to try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally".
The main restrictions affecting climbers and hillwalkers are those around travelling. Travel to Wales from other parts of the UK is not allowed and people living in Wales cannot leave Wales unless for a specified reason, such as for work, education. medicla purposes or similar.
For people living in Wales, there are no restrictions on travel within Wales and overnight stays, including for holiday are permitted. However, travel to or from Wales (including international travel) for holidays is not allowed.
All business premises, which have been shut since October 23, will be able to reopen on November 9 and up to 15 people will be able to take part in an organised indoor activity and up to 30 in organised outdoor activities, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other covid safety measures are followed. This suggests that activities such as club meets and even outdoor instructional activities can recommence from Monday November 9.
Along with ABC (Association of Climbing Walls) we believe that climbing walls can reopen from the 9th, the only restrictions being that organised groups are limited to a maximum of 15 when excercising indoors and mask must be worn at all times, unless when actually excercising. Indivdual climbing walls may have have their own arraangments to ensure compliance with the law and to maintain social distancing.
Mark Drakeford, the First Minister, states “All premises, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and gyms, that closed during the firebreak, will be able to reopen. Following the announcement about the English lockdown, Ministers are having ongoing discussions with the hospitality sector about the detailed rules for reopening. This includes about meeting in public indoor spaces”.
There are no restrictions on the type of recreational activities that can be undertaken outdoors as long as the 2m social distancing rule is adhered to for people from separate households.
Drakeford went on to state: “As part of keeping our risks to a minimum, people should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but international travel should be for essential reasons only”.
Importantly, and very welcome for those living in Wales, this means there are no travel restrictions inside Wales but during the month-long lockdown in England, travel outside of Wales, will not be permitted without a reasonable excuse. This means that those living in Wales cannot travel to England or internationally and likewise, people living outside of Wales cannot travel to or stay in Wales unless they have a “reasonable excuse”. While the full list of what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” is on the Welsh Government Frequently Asked Questions document, but it’s clear that travelling across the border to go walking or climbing or to participate in any form of recreation is not permitted.
People from outside of Wales will not be allowed to travel in to Wales for holiday, to camp or stay in any form of accommodation such as holiday cottages, hotels, bunkhouses, etc.
The current Welsh Government statement is available here
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