THIS week, Wales saw the rules on wearing face coverings relaxed as Covid rates continue to fall.

On Monday, Public Health Wales confirmed that the seven-day coronavirus case rate dropped to 191.7 per 100,000 people (up to February 21, the latest data available) – which is lowest Wales’ case rate has been since August.

This came as first minister Mark Drakeford announced changes to the rules on wearing face coverings in public indoor places.

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and all their sacrifices, cases of coronavirus are falling across Wales,” said Mr Drakeford. “Now is the right time to relax the general requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places.

“But we will keep the legal requirement in place in retail, public transport and health and social care, which are widely used and essential sectors.

“This is part of our cautious and careful response to the pandemic. We will continue to consider the latest scientific and medical evidence to inform our approach.

“Later this week I will be setting our longer term plans to manage the pandemic, as we carry out the regular three-week review of the regulations.”

What has changed?

From Monday, February 28, face coverings are no longer required in most indoor public places – excluding shops, on public transport, and in health and care settings.

However, the Welsh Government continues to “strongly recommend” wearing face coverings, even in places where it is no longer a legal requirement.

What is the law in Wales?

You must wear face coverings in retail premises, health and social care settings and on public transport.

For mixed-use areas, including where food or drink is consumed in part of a premises where a face covering is still legally required – such as a department store cafe, or hospital restaurant – you must wear face coverings on the premises, except in the area set aside for eating and drinking.

Where do I not have to wear a face covering?

Most indoor public settings no longer require people to wear a face covering in Wales.

These include:

  • In hospitality settings such as pubs or nightclubs;
  • Gyms, fitness and sports centres;
  • Community centres;
  • Leisure and entertainment venues, such as cinema, theatre, concert hall, bowling alleys, or bingo halls;
  • At a wedding, civil partnership or alternative wedding ceremony or reception;
  • Museums;
  • Hotel and holiday accommodation;
  • Visitor attractions;
  • Places of worship.

What about in schools?

Following the half term break, face coverings are now no longer recommended in school classrooms.

However, the Welsh Government said that face coverings should be worn by secondary aged learners, staff and visitors in all schools when moving around indoor communal areas outside of the classroom, such as corridors, where physical distance cannot be maintained.