UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today announce a four stage roadmap out of lockdown for England.
The PM is due to speak to MPs at the House of Commons this afternoon before a televised evening announcement.
Any new changes announced and the plans for the future will only apply in England but various aspects will impact parts of Wales’s economic recovery from coronavirus.
Here we look at what is reportedly planned and what impact this could have in Wales.
Retail and hairdressing
Welsh Government is expected to give the green light for non-essential retail and hairdressing at the next coronavirus review announcement on March 12. This could see reopening take place as soon as Saturday March 13 although this has not been confirmed and will depend on case numbers continuing to fall.
The UK Government has released some details of its plans to ease restrictions on March 8 and 29, with none of these indicating any move on shopping and close contact services.
Media in England are reporting that it will April before stores reopen but also indicate that it could be May for hairdressing.
If correct this could see huge demand to shop on this side of the border, with a site like Broughton shopping park proving a particular draw.
Hair salons close to England may also be inundated with calls from people over the border for a much needed haircut after weeks of closure.
In England the stay local travel rules are expected to remain in place until March 29. Welsh Government has not yet indicated what travel restrictions – if any – it will bring in once the stay at home message ends in three weeks.
Welsh Government on Friday that ‘if’ cases and hospitalisation numbers continue to fall then parts of the tourism sector could open from the Easter weekend.
This could include self contained holiday accommodation and tourism attractions where social distancing was possible. Hospitality will not open alongside these easing of restrictions, with those dates set to follow.
They are expected to give more detail on tourism at the next announcement to give operators time to prepare for a potential Easter opening.
But this is a sector very much reliant on our neighbours so England’s measures will also be crucial.
According to leaked reports to the media in England, then from March 29 people will once again be able to travel out of their areas.
But it is also said that guidance will likely still recommend staying local, and overnight stays will not be permitted.
Under these rules it could mean a trip to an attraction in Wales or a hike up Snowdon would be allowed but no overnight stay. This also depends on any potential travel measures in Wales.
What happens will also be governed by how strictly these are enforced, and whether these are done by guidance or law.
It is reported England’s tourism sector may not be able to reopen until June – which would mean huge demand for breaks in Wales over April and May if the sector is open here.
Clarity on opening dates is still wanted by those in the sector in Wales.
At present it is known there will be no easing of measures for the next six weeks so at the very earliest any reopening of the sector would take place at the end of April.
At this stage there doesn’t seem huge detail on the plans for England and more will be released later.
From what has been leaked there is an indication that mid-May could be when indoors hospitality reopens there.
Differences in the reopening schedule in this sector could see people cross the border to visit pubs, restaurants and cafes in whichever country opens first.
What will the UK Government use to dictate the speed of the unlocking in England?
The roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions will involve four tests that have to be met before any unlocking can begin:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virus
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