Primary schools should be the first thing to fully reopen as lockdown is lifted, according to people in North Wales – even if plenty think now is still too soon.
A survey of 2,528 people on North Wales Live found 45% think it’s too early to lift lockdown.
Just 14% of respondents think now is the right time.
Generally, the survey revealed a degree of pessimism about the length of the lockdown, with many people thinking it will remain in place for quite some time before it is fully lifted.
Just 6% of people believe it will be fully lifted in March, with 11% in April and 15% by May.
Later in the year is considered more likely – 25% said it would be gone by the summer, and 20% in the autumn.
However more than one in five people in North Wales (22%) fear lockdown might not be fully lifted until next year – or even longer.
The survey also suggested that people want to see the region’s pubs and restaurants re-open before tourism activities.
When asked in what order they’d relax the current restrictions, readers gave restaurants an average ranking of 7.97, with pubs ranked at 8.53.
In contrast holiday lets and out-of-area travel received an average ranking of 10.48.
Across Britain, a UK-wide survey on Reach websites found that people were keener to see overseas holidays resume before domestic tourism.
However this was not the case in North Wales, where the holiday sector is so important to the local economy.
We asked readers in what order they’d relax the current restrictions.
Based on the average rank for each option, this was the preferred order:
- Primary schools
- Secondary schools and colleges
- Small gatherings in parks/outdoor spaces
- Indoor visits with family/friends
- Gyms and leisure centres
- Holiday lets/travel out of area
- Sporting events
- Other events
First Minister Mark Drakeford recently met tourism groups to discuss when the sector might be permitted to re-open.
“We talked about a phased re-opening starting with self-contained accommodation,” he said, adding that the Welsh Government aims to have further talks in mid March.
Foundation phase pupils are due to start returning to primary school tomorrow and getting more children back to school remains Cardiff’s priority.
All primary school children to return to face-to-face learning from March 15.
“We also want to get some older learners – such years 11 and 13 in schools and those doing qualifications in colleges – back on a blended learning basis, if the conditions are right,” said the First Minister.
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For many respondent in the North Wales Live survey, it is progress with vaccinations that should determine how quickly lockdown is eased.
One in five people in the region said lifting restrictions shouldn’t start until everyone in the high risk groups has had their jab.
Marginally more respondents (21%) said it should wait till more than half the population have been vaccinated.
While the key stay-at-home message will stay in place for a further 21 days, until the next Welsh Government review, there will be some minor changes introduced this week.
Cardiff is changing the law to allow licensed wedding venues, such as visitor attractions and hotels, to re-open – but only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.
This week the Welsh Government will also look again at the guidance for visiting care homes by relatives.
Since Saturday, February 20, the number of people who can meet outdoors for exercise has increased from two to four – but they must be from no more than two households.
How long will it be before Wales returns to “normality” – or will it ever? Have you say in the comments section.
-- to www.dailypost.co.uk