The Welsh Government brought forward its plans for a nationwide lockdown on Saturday (December 19) throwing thousands of people’s Christmas plans into chaos.
Restrictions were initially set to be eased for five days over the festive period to allow many families across the country to meet.
But friends and relatives will now be limited to meeting on Christmas Day only after Wales entered Alert Level 4 – it’s highest alert level – on Sunday morning with just hours notice.
However, Wales is not the only place to introduce tighter measures.
England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have also altered their festive rules plans over concerns about a mutated strain of Covid-19, which is highly infectious and spreading rapidly across some parts of the UK.
But, the sudden change in rules has led to a great deal of confusion, leaving families uncertain on the restrictions and unsure where they can travel to.
Here’s the latest advice from the Welsh Government about the Christmas travel restrictions currently in place.
Can I travel to Wales from elsewhere in the UK on Christmas Day?
Yes, you can travel to Wales from elsewhere in the UK so long as there are no restrictions preventing you from leaving where you live.
For example, anyone who currently lives in an England Tier 4 area – including London – cannot leave the area, even on Christmas Day. If you live in England, you can check which ‘tier’ of restrictions you are currently in by clicking on the government’s website here.
Wales is now in lockdown and so if you’re planning to travel here in Christmas Day, you must respect and adhere to the conditions in place.
Can I travel within Wales?
Yes. On Christmas Day there will be no travel restrictions that will prevent you from travelling to other parts of Wales.
However, you must return to your home before midnight and you cannot spend the night.
Can I travel to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK?
There is a “strict” travel ban between Scotland and the rest of the UK which includes Christmas Day and the festive period.
The Scottish Government is seeking to strengthen enforcement of travel restrictions, though operational decisions remain with Police Scotland.
Can I travel to England from elsewhere in the UK?
Yes, you can travel to and within England unless the area you are planning to travel to has been placed in Tier 4. You can check this by clicking on the government’s website here.
If you are travelling over the border, you must also adhere to the rules and restrictions of the tier you are visiting.
For example yesterday (Monday), Greater Manchester’s Directors of Public Health has asked anyone who has travelled to the area from Wales or another Tier 4 area to self isolate for 10 days when they arrive “starting from December 19”. This is because lockdown was imposed in Wales at midnight on December 19 and after this time, travel was not permitted without a reasonable excuse.
Tier four areas in England currently include: All 32 London boroughs plus City of London, Kent and Medway, Buckinghamshire Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and, Maidenhead and West Berkshire), Surrey (excluding Waverley), Hastings and Rother, Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth, Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester), Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough.
Can I travel to Northern Ireland?
Yes, however, anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on December 22 and 28, but should only meet with their Christmas bubble between December 23 and 27.
Can I spend the night and travel back on Boxing Day?
If you are travelling away from home, you should travel to meet your Christmas bubble and return home during the course of December 25.
You can no longer stay overnight with other members of your Christmas bubble on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day unless they are also part of your pre-existing support bubble.
Holiday accommodation will no longer be allowed to open, even for Christmas.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “On 25 December, you may travel anywhere within the UK if necessary to meet with other households in your Christmas bubble, but this will be limited by the fact that you will need to leave and return to your home on Christmas Day.
“This is also subject to restrictions put in place in other parts of the UK. In particular, there are some areas, such as Tier 4 areas in England, where we understand that Christmas bubbles cannot be formed.”
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