Covid lockdowns in Wales: What counts as a reasonable excuse?

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Are you living in a locked down area and unsure about what circumstances allow you to leave your town or county?

About 2.3 million people living in 16 different areas in north and south Wales – a majority of the country’s population – are living under tighter restrictions.

Those who enter or leave local lockdown without a “reasonable excuse” can be issued with a fine, prosecuted or find themselves in court.

But what counts as a reasonable excuse?

Elderly lady in chair near window
Providing or care or assistance is listed as a reasonable excuse

Can I enter or leave a locked down area to visit elderly relatives?

Providing food, medical supplies or household maintenance essentials for “vulnerable people” is listed as a reasonable excuse by the Welsh Government.

Leaving your area to providing care or assistance is also allowed.

The guidance says: “People who are providing care or essential support, such as delivering shopping, can continue to make visits, but they should pay attention to all hygiene and social distancing precautions.”

But the Welsh Government said you should consider whether there are alternative sources of support available: “People will need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle.”

woman wearing mask looking out of window
If necessary, you can leave a locked down area to visit someone who has suffered a bereavement

Can I visit someone who is bereaved or in distress?

You can leave or enter a locked down area to visit someone “on compassionate grounds if necessary”.

This may include visiting someone with a physical or mental illness, someone who has suffered a bereavement or someone where you have concerns for their wellbeing or welfare.

The guidance adds: “Please keep in mind that the purpose of the continuing restrictions is to prevent the transmission of the virus, including to those we care about.”

Woman in hospital bed
Hospital visits are allowed under certain circumstances

Can I visit someone in hospital?

You can visit a hospital outside of your locked down area if you are a birth partner during childbirth – but may only be able to stay for a limited period of time.

You cab also go to see someone receiving end-of-life care, accompany a child patient or support someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

Man and woman in office
If you can reasonably work from home, your employer cannot make you go to work

How about work?

Those living in locked down areas have been told if they can work from home, they must do so.

But if you cannot reasonably do your work from home, you can continue to travel to work, whether that is within or outside your area.

You can also enter a locked down area for work if you are unable to work from home.

Employers should take every possible step to help their employees to work from home, including providing suitable IT equipment.

If you can reasonably work from home, your employer cannot make you go to work.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, live in the same house as someone with symptoms, or are an identified contact of someone with symptoms, you must stay at home and self-isolate.

pregnant woman wearing surgical mask and gloves having ultrasound
People should travel directly to medical appointment and not to stop at other locations along the way

Can I leave my area for a medical appointment?

Yes. People should continue to attend routine health appointments, the Welsh Government has said.

However, you should travel directly to the appointment and not to stop anywhere else on the way.

Bride wearing a mask
You can leave a local lockdown to attend a wedding ceremony but can not go to the wedding receptions

Can I go to a wedding or funeral?

People from an area in lockdown are allowed to go to wedding ceremonies and funerals outside their area, but not wedding receptions or wakes.

The same applies to those entering a locked down area for a ceremony.

If you are attending a wedding or funeral within your locked down area, you are permitted to attend a small reception or wake afterwards.

grandmother with grandchild
Adults should not go inside any households other than their own

What about childcare?

You can enter or leave a locked down area to give or get access to childcare or education .

Anyone who provides informal childcare for family members or friends can continue to do so, but it should “only be used when no other methods are available”.

Adults should not go inside any households other than their own – but people who live alone can meet friends or family from one other home indoors.

Where children are being cared for in households other than their own, it is important to ensure they are regularly washing their hands and that wider guidance on managing the virus is followed.

Children should not be cared for outside their home if they are ill, or by anyone who is ill.

Woman driving
Driving through locked down areas is permitted

Can I travel through a locked down area?

If you have to travel along a road that passes through the area and you have no other reasonable option to travel to your destination, then this is allowed.

If you find yourself caught short on the journey, stopping at a service station in a locked down area to use the toilet is allowed.

Two people on deck chairs on the beach
Those living in locked down areas cannot holiday abroad

Can I go on holiday?

Travelling out of a locked down area for a holiday, whether in the UK or abroad, is not permitted.

However, you can take a holiday within your area.

A woman opening her purse and looking at money
You can leave lockdown to buy goods you cannot get locally

Can I travel outside the local area to buy things?

You are able to get essential goods from outside your local area if you cannot “reasonably be expected to do this within the area or get them delivered”.

Source: BBC News

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