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Welsh Government Announces Two-Week Firebreak Lockdown

On Monday 19 October, the Welsh Government announced that it will be introducing a two-week firebreak lockdown to try and bring Coronavirus under control in Wales.

Published: 20 October 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of pink stage lights beaming down into the darkness. The picture focuses upwards, so we can just see the lights and rigging and not the stage.
New regulations and guidance will replace the current measures, including local lockdowns.

The firebreak will begin at 6:00 pm on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November and involves new regulations and guidance that will replace the current measures, including local lockdowns.

Detailed information and guidance is still being developed and may change, including on business closures and support. It’s also unclear exactly what regulations and guidance will be in place when the firebreak comes to an end.

If you’re unsure about any of the restrictions we would recommend reviewing the advice on the Welsh Government’s website in the first instance, including the Coronavirus firebreak FAQs.

Key points on the firebreak

Some of the key points on the firebreak measures are:

  • People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise.
  • People must work from home wherever possible.
  • People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with either indoors and outdoors.
  • No gatherings will be allowed outdoors.
  • All non-food retail, hospitality businesses, close contact services and events and tourism businesses, such as hotels must close.
  • Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will be required to close.
  • Work carried out inside other people’s homes can only take place if it is urgent, or to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to peoples safety.
  • Primary schools will remain open, except during the usual half term holidays.
  • Secondary schools will re-open after half term for children in years seven and eight, and pupils will go in to take exams, but other pupils will continue their learning from home for an extra week.
  • Colleges will move to online-only provision for the week following half term, while universities can continue to provide a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.

How the firebreak might affect musicians

Some guidance in relation to members’ work:

  • The firebreak may have implications for your work, contracts (including employment contracts), and earnings. Our general guidance on Cancelled Contracts and Income Loss is likely to apply, but please get in touch for more specific advice, including in relation to employment contracts, the various government support schemes, and potential redundancies.
  • We think teaching can continue in schools provided that government guidance is followed. We also recommend reading our advice on teaching during the Coronavirus outbreak, including our guidance on teaching online.
  • Face-to-face private teaching in teachers’ or pupils’ homes can’t take place under the firebreak restrictions on work inside other people’s homes, so should move online, at least for the duration of firebreak measures.
  • Given the guidance on outdoor gatherings and meeting people from other households we would advise against busking and any other type of live performance with an audience during the firebreak lockdown.
  • We would also advise against any community or amateur group rehearsals or meetings taking place during the firebreak, for the same reason.
  • We are seeking clarity on how other work such as recordings and broadcast/streamed performances, as well as businesses such recording and rehearsal studios, will be affected by the firebreak restrictions.
  • The Coronavirus Firebreak FAQs say that “anyone who is in Wales, whether resident or travelling here, is bound by these rules. However, travelling to a workplace in Wales is a reasonable excuse to leave home [if you cannot work from home and can work safely in your workplace]. Similarly, people living in Wales can travel to England for work purposes where this is necessary and they cannot work from home.”

We are seeking further clarity and lobbying for additional financial support for musicians and the broader creative industries in partnership with Wales TUC and the other creative unions.

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