Can I travel from England to Wales? Restrictions explained for Covid lockdown Tiers 1, 2 and 3

The rules for travelling into Wales were updated by the Welsh First Minister on 3 December

As England’s tiered system of Covid rules were relaxed on 2 December, many people might have considered travelling to enjoy a winter break in Wales.

While those in tier 3 are advised not to travel, people living in tiers 1 and 2 areas are able to move freely throughout England - but do the same rules apply for crossing the border into Wales?

Here’s what you need to know.

the Welsh government have announced restrictions for visiting Walesthe Welsh government have announced restrictions for visiting Wales
the Welsh government have announced restrictions for visiting Wales

What are the travel rules for each tier?

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If your council area is in tier 1 or 2, you can move freely between tier 1 and 2 areas, but you should avoid tier 3 localities unless essential - such as for work or education.

You should also reduce the number of journeys you make and walk or cycle if possible.

Do not commute during busy times (7-9am and 4-6.30pm) on public transport and avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble.

In tier 3, you should avoid all but essential travel outside your council area. You may continue to travel to shops and services which are still open, but you should minimise travel where possible.

Will Wales allow visitors from England?

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No, visitors from England will not be allowed into Wales unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.

The Welsh first minister addressed the issue of travelling around the UK from Wales and visitors coming into Wales on Thursday, 3 December.

He stated: “There will be no restrictions on travel within Wales but we need to have some restrictions on travel across the border to those parts of the UK where infection rates are high to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

Welsh government guidelines state: “Visiting family and friends (other than as part of an extended household) or having a holiday is not currently considered a reasonable excuse, although we hope to be able to welcome you in the not too distant future.

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People travelling to Wales from elsewhere in the UK or from abroad must have a reasonable excuse to enter and remain in Wales and must follow all relevant regulations in force in Wales.”

What are the guidelines for travelling from and within Wales?

Wales First Minister, Mark Drakeford outlined the country’s new rules, with specific regulations for Welsh people travelling into other parts of the UK.

He explained that people living in Wales should not visit areas under tier 1 and 2 restrictions in England and Scotland, so as not to carry infection into areas with a lower infection rate.

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There will also be no permitted travel to and from tier three areas in England, level three and four areas in Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland as it remain in full lockdown.

He said: “Coronavirus doesn’t respect borders – we all have a part to play in keeping Wales and the UK safe.

"Please think carefully about where you are going and what you are doing. This virus thrives wherever we come together with others.

“Taken together with our other measures, these travel restrictions will help to keep us all safe.”

In addition, he has ruled from Friday, 4 December:

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- Alcohol sales in pubs, restaurants and cafes will be banned and must close by 6pm except for takeaway orders.

- Indoor entertainment and heritage sites like cinemas, bowling alleys, casinos, bingo halls, museums and galleries will shut completely.

Mr Drakeford insisted all current measures were necessary to avoid a spike in cases and prevent over 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths over the winter period. He will review the measures on 17 December.

Which authorities are in each tier?

Tier 1: Medium alert

South East: Isle of Wight

South West: Cornwall, Isles of Scilly

Tier 2: High alert

North West: Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Warrington and Cheshire.

Yorkshire: York, North Yorkshire

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West Midlands: Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

East Midlands: Rutland, Northamptonshire

East of England: Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough.

Norfolk: Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

London: all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East: East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire, Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire.

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South West: South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Devon.

Tier 3: Very High alert

North East: Tees Valley Combined Authority (Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington); North East Combined Authority: Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, County Durham, Northumberland

North West: Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen

Yorkshire and The Humber: The Humber, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire

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West Midlands: Birmingham and Black Country, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.

East Midlands: Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, Lincolnshire

South East: Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert), Kent and Medway

South West: Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset.