FACE coverings will longer need to be worn in shops and on public transport in Wales from Monday (March 28).

It comes as Wales continues to gradually relax some of its remaining coronavirus pandemic protections.

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The new rules will be confirmed by First Minister Mark Drakeford tomorrow.

The Leader: Mark Drakeford.Mark Drakeford.

From Monday, face coverings will no longer be required by law in retail settings and on public transport.

However, wearing face coverings will continue to be recommended in public health advice.

Also, the requirement to self-isolate will move into guidance.

A £500 self-isolation payment to support people will continue to be available until June.

However, two key legal protections will remain in place as coronavirus cases have risen sharply in recent weeks, driven by the BA.2 sub-type of the omicron variant.

Face coverings will remain a legal requirement in health and social care settings and coronavirus risk assessments must continue to be carried out by businesses, with reasonable measures put in place in light of those assessments.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have seen an unwelcome rise in coronavirus cases across Wales, mirroring the position in most of the UK.

“We have carefully considered the very latest scientific and medical evidence and we need to keep some legal protections in place for a little while longer, to help keep Wales safe.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken a gradual and cautious approach as we have relaxed protections.

“We are firmly on the path towards leaving the emergency response to the pandemic behind us and learning to live with coronavirus safely.”

The next three-weekly review of coronavirus regulations will be concluded by April 14, when the final legal measures will be reviewed.