COVID-19: Alert Levels vs Steps (Rules in Wales v England - an anticlimactic six nations spinoff)

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.

Okay, let’s not jinx it, but I’m starting to see a light at the end of the Covid-tunnel. Having said that, I’m getting a bit lost on these Covid-19 rules, and I’m assuming I’m not alone on that one.

Do not worry. This week I’ve spent some time digesting the rules so that you don’t have to. Have a read of this to find out more about different ‘Alert Levels’ in Wales, and the ‘Steps’ on the infamous Road Map in England – and what these mean for us.

WALES and Alert Levels

The Welsh Gov have got a current restrictions page here – so I’ll summarise.  Essentially, the Welsh Gov has been using Alert Levels to determine how severe the pandemic is across Wales, and therefore what behaviours are required of all who live there.

We are currently in Alert Level 2 and are gradually moving into Alert Level 1.  My understanding is that this means there are a couple of regulations that are slowly being relaxed at the moment, subject to the next formal review coming on July 15th.

In the meantime, the Covid rules remain:


  • wear a face covering inside
  • extended household with only 2 other households which should stay the same
  • not meet with anyone inside other than with the extended households
  • not meet with more than 5 other people in indoor regulated settings e.g. pubs, cafes, restaurants – UNLESS you are meeting with people you live with
  • not meet more than 29 people outdoors including private gardens, public spaces, outdoor regulated premises e.g. pubs, cafes, restaurants.


  • Follow social distancing rules when meeting people who are not in your household or extended households
  • Work from home where possible
  • Minimise travel to covid-high areas


Things that are open

The list of stuff open is pretty extensive, so for us students I’m just going to pick out a couple of the things that may be most relevant to you in the coming weeks:

  • Non-Essential Retail 
  • Hospitality (yes that means the pub)
  • Sports Courts
  • Golf Courses
  • Close contact services (that includes the beauty industry)
  • Holiday Accommodation (so our staycations can go ahead)
  • Cinemas
  • Gyms


Definitely make the most of them – but do so safely, and remember the mask rules etc. too.


ENGLAND and Covid-19 Steps

Of course, things couldn’t just be simple, and the language changes here.  So rather than moving down through Alert Levels, England move upwards through a Step by Step Plan.  

So, right now England are at Step 3 and are moving to Step 4.  Step 3 is currently at a 4 week pause and there is an expected move to Step 4 on July 19th.

It’s only natural that I can’t use the same ‘Musts’ and ‘Shoulds’ language here either, so let’s have the Do’s and Don’ts instead…

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO Wear face coverings
  • DO Minimise the number of people you meet
  • OUTDOORS: gatherings must not exceed 30 people outside.  It is your choice whether you choose to keep your distance from seeing family and friends in this situation
  • INDOORS: rule of 6.  Can meet with any number of households indoors up to 6 people, and in a group of any size if from up to 2 households, each household can include an existing support bubble
  • DO still follow the COVID rules, even if you’ve been vaccinated.


There’s a pretty comprehensive list of everything you need to know for rules in England here.


Testing, Symptoms and Isolation Rules

It does seem that the two countries (plus Scotland and Northern Ireland) are on the same page with this stuff.  So here’s some general info on it.

Main Symptoms:

  • High Temp
  • New or Continuous Cough
  • Loss or Change in Taste or Smell



If you have any of the above symptoms 

  • You and your household should self-isolate and you should get a PCR test sharpish.  Only leave to get a test or to post the test back.  Here’s where you can get a PCR test (these are the ones you can either book to go and have, or have sent to you to send off to a lab).


If you do not have symptoms

  • You can get Rapid Lateral Flow tests here if you fall into one of these categories:
  • you do not have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
  • you’re 11 or older
  • you have not been told to self-isolate
  • you cannot get tests from your work, school, college or university (ask them for rapid lateral flow tests)


  • You can also get the PCR tests if you fall into one of these categories:
  • You’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive
  • you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace
  • a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project
  • you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
  • you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
  • you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
  • you’re in the National Tactical Response Group


Remember to follow the instructions that come after any of these tests – and that will dictate how long you have to isolate for – it’s often dependent on whether you test positive, or when you came into contact with someone who did.

You can also ring NHS 111 if you’re not sure what to do!


Final Thoughts….

I hope this helps to round up some of the rules for you, but do keep checking the pages linked throughout because we all know how fast these rules can change.

If you need some extra support and guidance about moving out, don’t forget to check out our Student Advice Team’s leaving accommodation page and blog, and the Advice page on Covid-19 health and wellbeing.  As always, get in touch with the Team using the details below if there’s anything that needs a little more clarifying.

This blog has been written by Charlie Mallinson from the Student Advice Team in the Students’ Union. If you would like further help and support with the issues raised in this blog, or any aspect of your student experience, please get in touch using the following links:

Contact Student Advice  

+44 (0)2920 781410