Mix of joy and caution over extended households

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People can now form an “exclusive extended arrangement” with up to four households

People in Wales are now able to welcome more family and friends into their homes as coronavirus lockdown rules continue to be relaxed.

From Saturday, people can form an “exclusive extended arrangement” with up to four households – double the previous amount allowed.

Some are pleased, but others are wary of opening their doors to others.

Conwy sheep farmer Llyr Jones said he was looking forward to seeing his mother and neighbours again.

Mr Jones, 41, who lives in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr with his wife and two children, added: “The worst thing that we have found during the height of the pandemic was childcare.

“My wife’s a vet and I’m a farmer, and we are having to take our children to work.

“That brings huge problems but we have to carry on because we are both key workers, but maybe having my mother to come home to look after the children will help.”

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Llyr Jones

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Llyr Jones is looking forward to being able to welcome his mum and neighbours inside

People have been employed on his farm since lockdown began – while they tried to maintain social distancing, it was not always easy.

“It’s impossible to keep to two-metre distances,” he said.

“We have two young children who are in nursery, so they are mixing, they are not social distancing.”

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Lee Dirkzwager

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Lee Dirkzwager remains unsure about opening the doors of her home to others

Lee Dirkzwager, from Gabalfa, Cardiff, has been shielding.

The 73-year-old has a number of underlying conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The mother-of-three and grandmother-of-three went out on Sunday but was “quite nervous” about doing so.

“I didn’t enjoy it and came back to what I now call the norm, which is isolation,” she said.

“I think it is going to take a long time to adjust to get back into the flow of pre-March this year.

“And, being honest, I am worried about opening up and having to meet even family.”

The retired office worker admitted she would “love” to see them, but feared the pandemic would return.

“Are we going to be ill next time around?” she said.

She did not enjoy her trip out because there were “so many people”, many unmasked.

“It was totally alien,” she said. “I suppose I’ve become institutionalised being on my own.”

The rules on meeting people indoors were expected to be relaxed last weekend but were postponed.

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On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said trials of outdoor sports and arts events would be allowed later this month

First Minister Mark Drakeford said at the time it was important not to jeopardise progress.

Mr Drakeford said the next easing of lockdown measures, in three weeks’ time, would include relaxing rules to allow cleaners and tutors to work in people’s homes.

It would also allow small groups to meet indoors for classes and clubs, such as book clubs and weight loss groups.

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