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Wales’ firebreak lockdown: what we can and can’t do

Wales’ firebreak lockdown: what we can and can’t do
Image source: Getty Images

From 6pm on Friday 26 October, Wales will enter a nationwide ‘firebreak’ lockdown to tackle coronavirus. But what is a ‘firebreak’, how long do the rules last, and what’s off limits? Here’s what we know. 

Wales firebreak lockdown

The number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply across Wales. The answer? According to the Welsh government, it’s another lockdown – a short, sharp ‘firebreak’ to stop the spread and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

  • The national lockdown begins on 26 October and will last until Monday 9 November.
  • Many non-essential businesses will be forced to close.
  • There will be financial support packages available for affected businesses, but the UK Job Support Scheme won’t be brought forward to cover the lockdown in Wales. 

But what can we expect from this ‘firebreak’ lockdown? Let’s take a look. 

New lockdown rules

Okay, so the firebreak lockdown in Wales is just that – a lockdown. It’s stricter than the tier 3 restrictions being seen in England right now, and the key message is to stay at home as much as possible. But what’s allowed, and what’s off limits? Here’s an overview:

  • Stay at home unless there’s a good reason to leave (e.g. to exercise or to buy food).
  • Work from home where possible.  
  • You can’t meet anyone outside your household anywhere, including in outdoor spaces.    
  • Fines start at £60 if you break the lockdown rules.

These venues are closed until 9 November 2020 at the earliest: 

  • Hairdressers and beauty salons 
  • Non-essential shops (e.g. clothes shops)
  • Libraries
  • Community centres and gyms
  • Places of worship (unless for a wedding or a funeral)
  • Pubs
  • Hotels and B&Bs – if you’ve booked a holiday to Wales, contact your travel company or see if your travel insurance covers the cancellation 
  • Restaurants and cafes (unless they offer takeaway services)

All that said, there’s still more open during this firebreak lockdown in Wales than during the UK-wide lockdown back in March. 

  • You can take children to nursery. 
  • Primary school children, Year 7 and 8 secondary school pupils and those taking exams will go back as normal after the half-term break (on Monday 2 November). Other pupils will access online learning.
  • There’s still some in-person university learning. 
  • You can still use parks and outdoor gyms

And remember, if you live alone, you can still join another household in a ‘support bubble’. 

When the firebreak will end

The firebreak lockdown in Wales should end on Monday 9 November 2020. The Welsh government plans to roll out new rules to replace the lockdown restrictions after this date, but we don’t know what the rules will look like yet.

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What we can say is that they’ll probably look something like the tiered restrictions we’re seeing in England right now. We can expect to find out more about the proposed rules in the coming days or weeks. 

Saving money during lockdown 

Is there an upside to the firebreak lockdown in Wales? Well, it depends on how you define ‘upside’. Does the thought of saving money and overhauling your personal finances sound appealing? Then yes, there’s technically an upside – a little money can buy you some happiness, after all.

So, here are some helpful ideas to help you make the most of the next few weeks.

Set a budget

Write down exactly how much money you make each month, and what you spend. Then, set a realistic budget and stick to it as much as possible. Budgeting helps you feel more in control of your money and it’ll be easier to handle setbacks if they arise.

Get saving

If the lockdown reduces your spending, leaving you with money to spare, open a savings account. You could use the money to build yourself a nest egg, or it could help you overcome any coronavirus-related financial difficulties. 

Start investing

If you’ve never thought about share dealing or investing, now’s the time to take a look. Spend some time learning about ways to invest money, and consider opening a share dealing account

Yes, there’s always some risk involved with investing, but there are options to suit everyone. 

Make more money 

If you’re stuck at home during the firebreak lockdown in Wales, why not look for a side gig to keep you occupied? From selling art online to managing social media accounts, there’s bound to be a side hustle to suit your skills and interests. 

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