// Wales lockdown extended for another three weeks
// The next review of regulations in three weeks’ time will consider reopening Wales’ non-essential retail
// It comes after Northern Ireland extended its lockdown to April 1. Scotland and England will reveal their plans in coming days
Wales’ lockdown rules will remain in place for at least another three weeks, the Welsh Government has said.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that there would be no further significant changes to the country’s lockdown as stay-at-home rules were extended once again.
However, Drakeford said a phased return to school plan for the country’s youngest pupils will begin on Monday, and that further easing of restrictions were under consideration in time for Easter – including welcoming back tourism.
READ MORE: Northern Ireland lockdown extended to April
Despite potentially lifting Wales’ travel ban into the country to allow families to visit one another for Easter, Drakeford said he would look to protect areas with low levels of Covid-19 from those with high levels.
“The issue of travel for me has never been about borders,” he said.
“It’s about making sure that we protect areas where there is very low transmission from travel from areas where there is very high rates of transmission.”
Drakeford added that stay-at-home restrictions in Wales could be eased as early as in three weeks, due to falling numbers of cases and reduced pressures on hospitals.
In the meantime, from Saturday minor changes to rules will include allowing up to four people from two households being allowed to exercise together outdoors, while licensed wedding venues other than registry offices and faith settings, which can already carry out weddings, will be allowed to reopen for operation.
The next review of regulations in three weeks’ time will also consider reopening Wales’ non-essential retail and close contact services on the high street, like hair salons.
The news comes a day after Northern Ireland confirmed it would extend its own lockdown until April 1, although non-essential retailers can resume click-and-collect services from March 8.
The country’s Stormont Executive also said it would publish a road map out of lockdown on March 1.
Along with England, the current lockdowns in Northern Ireland and Wales are the third of its kind on a national scale since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago.
Meanwhile. Scottish Parliament is also set to unveil an lockdown exit roadmap for Scotland in the coming days, while the government in Westminster is due to reveal its own plans for England next week.
England’s current lockdown is due to end March 31.
with PA Wires