Covid update: some restrictions lifted; new financial support for closed businesses


Some Covid restrictions in Wales will be lifted from tomorrow, the First Minister has announced.

On Monday, hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments only.

Shops that are already open (such as supermarkets) will be able to begin selling non-essential items from March 22. Garden centres can reopen on this day.

All other non-essential shops will be able to reopen from April 12, along with all close-contact services. A further £150m in financial support will be available to all businesses that remain closed beyond next Monday. See below for details.

Self-contained holiday accommodation will reopen from March 27.

The 'stay home' rule becomes 'stay local' from tomorrow. This will remain in place until at least March 27.

 Also from tomorrow, up to four people from two households can socialise outdoors - this includes in private gardens. They can walk through a home to reach the garden, but most not socialise indoors. This includes going indoors to use the toilet.

Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts can reopen tomorrow, but numbers are limited to four people from two households.

All primary school children will return to school on Monday. All schools will reopen on April 12.

New financial support announced

Following the First Minister’s announcement today, two new Non Domestic Rate linked grants are being introduced.

The additional support will help businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates and will operate as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund.

This will see an eligible business with a rateable value of £12,000 or less receive an extra £4,000 grant payment.
Firms with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000.

The funding, which will help businesses with their costs up to March 31, will be available to firms regardless of the number of employees and ensures micro businesses benefit from the support.

Local authorities will again be administering and distributing both these payments. 

Businesses that pay non-domestic rates and have already received a payment since the firebreak in October via their Local Authority do not need to take action and will begin receiving payment via the Restrictions Business Fund into their bank account during March. 

However, businesses that have not registered with their local authority, registration process will open from Monday with the application window closing at 5pm on March 31.