Welsh beauty spots were rammed with visitors this weekend as the country lead the UK out of lockdown – just days ahead of England’s Stay At Home orders being lifted.
Lockdown restrictions were eased in Wales when the ‘stay local’ requirement was dropped on Saturday.
Unrestricted travel within Welsh borders is now permitted, and self-contained holiday accommodation spots – including several hotels, cottages and B&Bs – can reopen their doors.
But non-essential travelers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are still banned from entering Wales until at least April 12.
England won’t see a rules change until tomorrow when gatherings of up to six people – or two full households – will be allowed in parks or in back gardens.
Under Wales’s new rules, six people from two different households can meet up outside for picnics, compared to four people under the old rules.
Welsh locals took advantage of the changes, rushing to popular spots to enjoy the great outdoors.
Welsh beauty spots (Barry Island, pictured) were rammed with visitors this weekend as the country lead the UK out of lockdown – just days ahead of England’s Stay At Home orders being lifted
Lockdown restrictions were eased in Wales (visitors at Barry Island, pictured) when the ‘stay local’ requirement was dropped on Saturday
Unrestricted travel within Welsh borders is now permitted, and self-contained holiday accommodation spots – including several hotels, cottages and B&Bs – can reopen their doors. Pictured: Revellers at Barry Island
But non-essential travelers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are still banned from entering Wales until at least April 12. Pictured: Visitors at Barry Island
Police officers patrolled the shore on horseback in Barry Island (pictured), weaving between punters on the sand while ensuring social distancing rules were being maintained
Popular seaside resort Barry Island was jam-packed with beach-goers, some seen having picnics on the sand (pictured)
Under Wales’s new rules, six people from two different households can meet up outside for picnics (Barry Island, pictured), compared to four people under the old rules
Welsh locals took advantage of the changes, rushing to popular spots to enjoy the great outdoors. Pictured: Police patrolling in Barry Island
So what can you do in England from Monday?
END TO STAY AT HOME MESSAGE
People will still be encouraged to stay local unless they are visiting a relative who has been isolated. The work from home message still applies
Groups of up to six people from different households or two full households will be able to meet outside, including private gardens
Outdoor facilities can reopen – such as tennis and basketball courts; golf courses; and outdoor swimming pools. Organised grassroots sports, such as football, return for children and adults
Popular seaside resort Barry Island was jam-packed with beach-goers, some seen having picnics on the sand.
Police officers patrolled the shore on horseback, weaving between punters on the sand while ensuring social distancing rules were being maintained.
Meanwhile, defiant locals took to the sand in Porthcawl despite strong winds.
As part of the first stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap to restore normal life by June 21, golf, tennis and team sports are able to resume in England from tomorrow – dubbed ‘Happy Monday’ – with the ‘exceptional circumstances’-only rule lifted for weddings.
Ministers have not said when their advice to work from home where possible will be lifted.
But lockdown-weary Britons who couldn’t wait for Monday threw caution to the wind this weekend, leaving their homes in favour of England’s beaches, parks and markets as temperatures started to climb.
On Saturday, families, joggers and weightlifters flocked to green spaces across the country for 52F (11C) temperatures as the UK braces for near-record 76F (24C) heat next week.
Ahead of the easing of restrictions on ‘Happy Monday’, police chiefs warned the public to stay vigilant and said next week is not the end of curbs on freedom.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs Council, said complacency risked spreading new Covid variants and could lead to fresh rules.
Mr Hewitt warned people not to think: ‘I’m only breaching it a little bit.’
Meanwhile, defiant locals took to the sand in Porthcawl despite strong winds. Pictured: Walkers are seen battling through heavy wind
People are blasted by sand in windy conditions in Porthcawl, Wales, today. One woman is seen pulling a hood over her face to protect her eyes
Three women are seen walking their dogs in Porthcawl, Wales, today. Under Wales’s new rules, six people from two different households can meet up outside
Two people are seen watching the sea in Porthcawl, Wales, on the first Sunday since lockdown measures were partially lifted in Wales
He said police would still be out dishing out fines where needed and reminding people of the rules.
He said: ‘We are starting to see the possibility that we move out of the kind of strong restrictions that we have all been living under and everyone wants that to happen.
‘But there is a staged process that has been clearly laid out by Government that allows us to do that in a way that means they are able to monitor the infection rate and they are able to make sure we are not going too fast and Iwould urge everybody to pay attention to precisely what the changes are at every stage and not to try to preempt it.
‘Look across the Channel at most of our near European neighbours where new variants are arriving and most have now gone back into strict lockdowns.’
Lockdown-weary Britons who couldn’t wait for Monday threw caution to the wind this weekend, leaving their homes in favour of England’s beaches, parks and markets as temperatures started to climb. Pictured: Crowds flocked to Borough Market in London on Saturday despite the stay at home order remaining in place
Families, joggers and weightlifters flocked to parks and beaches across the country on Saturday as the UK braced for near-record 76F (24C) heat next week. Pictured: Greenwich Park
People relax in St. James’s Park on Saturday ahead of lockdown restrictions being eased on Monday, March 29
People on the promenade at Brighton are pictured on Saturday ahead of the expected warm weather spell next week
Foreign travel will be banned by law from Monday and those leaving the country without a reasonable excuse will incur a possible £5,000 fine.
Holidays in the UK are still banned.
The next set of rules will be eased on April 12. These include outdoor opening for pubs and restaurants, travel around the country and the reopening of non-essential shops.
The roadmap will lead to the return of almost all freedoms by June 21, provided cases do not surge.
Some Tory MPs want ministers to move faster to lift restrictions.
Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, said: ‘The question will keep coming up: if we are really following the data, can we have our lives back sooner?’
Earlier today, NHS England’s national medical director urged the nation not to ‘squander the gains’ made against coronavirus as he warned the virus can still ‘wreak more havoc’ ahead of lockdown restrictions lifting tomorrow.
Professor Stephen Powis said Covid-19 still has the capacity to cause damage and ‘ill health on a significant scale’, citing concerns over new variants detected.
The health chief added that the prospects ‘look immeasurably brighter and more positive’ but said that the easing ‘does not mean job done’.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Prof Powis said: ‘We’ve made enormous progress that we need to build on and not squander the gains we’ve made.
‘We need to hold our nerve and drive for the line, so everyone can get back safely and soon to our normal lives.’
Boris Johnson said he is wary of the prospect of rising coronavirus infection rates, but sees ‘absolutely nothing in the data’ to halt the easing of the lockdown.
The Prime Minister acknowledged cases could again spiral as restrictions are relaxed but said the ‘key difference’ this time is that the rise in prevalence should be ‘sufficiently mitigated’ by the successful vaccine rollout.
NHS England’s national medical director today warned the nation not to ‘squander the gains’ made against coronavirus ahead of a major easing of the lockdown tomorrow
Professor Stephen Powis issued the warning ahead of groups of up to six, or two households, being able to socialise in parks and gardens once more as outdoor sports facilities reopen
It comes amid allegations that foreign holidays are unlikely to be back on the cards until August despite plans to lift the domestic lockdown in June.
Britons booking trips abroad have been warned they are being ‘very optimistic’, with signs ministers will keep the legal ban on non-essential travel in place longer to minimise the risk of importing mutant Covid strains.
Even once the restrictions are eased destinations with higher infection rates are expected to face extra rules such as quarantine.
The grim message comes as Europe faces another wave of the disease, amid its struggling vaccine rollout.
Scientists have been cautioning that tougher borders might be the trade-off for loosening the lockdown, with households set to be allowed to mix outside from tomorrow for the first time in months.
However, Heathrow Airport is trying to salvage the situation by pushing a ‘traffic light’ plan for defending against countries where variants are identified. Under the plan putting an ‘amber alert’ on a destination would mean travellers face three days of quarantine and a tailored testing regime.
In interviews this morning, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said international travel is ‘challenging’. Asked about the ‘traffic light’ idea, he told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday: ‘We’re exploring all these issues as part of the international travel taskforce.
‘We consider all options as part of the travel taskforce.
Boris Johnson said yesterday that he is wary of the prospect of rising coronavirus infection rates, but sees ‘absolutely nothing in the data’ to change his roadmap
Government data up to Friday showed that 29,727,435 people in the UK have received a first jab, a rise of 411,305 on the previous day. The Government said a further 58 people had died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 126,573
‘Clearly there are challenges around international travel, you only have to look across the continent and see the rising case rates in many of our nearest neighbours.
‘It has been in the past the case that those rising infection rates have seen their way to the UK, we’re hopeful that won’t happen this time round because of our progress with the vaccine and so on, but we do need to be cautious about that.’
Meanwhile, the UK was planning to offer 3.7 million jabs to Ireland, partly to help ease lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland, according to the Sunday Times.
It would be the first time Britain exported jabs to the EU and the newspaper reported a Cabinet minister saying it would be a ‘poke in the eye’ for Brussels amid a row over supplies.
The arrival of Moderna vaccines to the UK had been expected in spring, but the Mail on Sunday reported that the first 500,000 doses will arrive imminently in a boost for the rollout.
During a discussion at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum yesterday, the Prime Minister said that a ‘third wave’ is being witnessed in parts of Europe and ‘bitter experience’ has taught him that this could hit the UK ‘three weeks later’.
But he added: ‘There’s lots of promising evidence that a lot of people who could be vulnerable are now protected against death and serious disease, that’s my hope, my hunch.’
Mr Johnson remained optimistic that his road map to easing England’s restrictions can continue, saying there is a ‘good chance’ of allowing non-essential retail reopening on April 12, when hairdressers are also earmarked to reopen.
‘In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers,’ he said in a subsequent speech.
‘But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub.
‘And as things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our road map to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love.’
Government data up to Friday showed that 29,727,435 people in the UK have received a first jab, a rise of 411,305 on the previous day.
The Government said a further 58 people had died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 126,573.
arlier tIn Wales, lockdown restrictions were eased when the ‘stay local’ requirement was dropped on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.