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Fears of friction over Covid restrictions as holidaymakers flock to Wales

16 Jul 2021 5 minutes Read
Picture by Llywelyn 2000 (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter

There are fears that a significant divergence in Covid laws between Wales and England could lead to “some friction” as visitors continue to cross the border over the summer.

In England from Monday, July 19 – dubbed as ‘Freedom Day’ –  the legal requirement to wear a face covering in shops and public transport will end, to be replaced with less stringent recommendations that masks be worn in crowded and enclosed spaces.

This includes the reopening of all remaining closed businesses and venues, including nightclubs, with all capacity limits also set to be removed.

But in Wales, where public health is a devolved issue, this will not be the case with face coverings remaining a legal requirement in all indoor public places for at least another three weeks unless health exemption applies.

This covers supermarkets and hospitality, with the only exception being when seated inside a pub or restaurant, as well as public transport and taxis with anyone travelling into Wales by rail expected to put a mask on after crossing the border.

The Welsh Government has suggested August 7, provided that the public health situation allows it, as a date to relax the regulations to more closely match those of England’s, with such a move to Alert Level 0 dropping the legal requirement to wear masks in such settings.

Concerns

But concerns have been raised that the lack of clarity over the divergence in Covid-19 rules could lead to issues, with the majority of visitors to popular tourist venues tending to cross the border from England.

In the Commons on Wednesday, Arfon MP Hywel Williams urged the Prime Minister to “make it clear that those visiting Wales this summer must stick to Welsh laws” and to clarity that on Covid regulations that he could only speak for England.

In response, Boris Johnson said, “I think that people should stick to the rules and the guidance wherever they are, and the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to talk about a cautious and measured approach.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Anglesey Council’s portfolio holder for economic development and tourism praised the Welsh Government’s handling thus far.

“Mark Drakeford’s approach to dealing with the pandemic has been more cautious and totally focused on protecting the people of Wales and the First Minister has served us well,” said Cllr Carwyn Jones, a member of the Plaid Cymru-led administration.

“Boris Johnson has been more gung-ho in his approach and is dropping the covid public health measures as of Monday in England.

“This difference in approach and response between England and Wales will potentially create some friction in certain situations with the summer holidays now upon us and different rules in place.

“I was aware during the first lockdown that some people visiting Anglesey from England were genuinely confused with the rules as they only get the updates on the English network TV that Boris Johnson was conveying, and he does so in a way that you could easily misconstrue what he is saying as covering the whole of the UK.

“I would urge everyone who is visiting Anglesey to come here and enjoy but do so on the proviso that you abide by the rules that are in place here in Wales, respect the businesses and the measures they have in place and respect our local communities and our precious environment.”

Cllr Carwyn Jones at Llanddona Beach on Anglesey.

Meanwhile, a Gwynedd Council spokesperson said that signage is in place both on the border and within the county to remind people of the rules enforced in Wales.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been urging those who choose to visit Gwynedd to be patient, to plan visits in advance and to respect our communities by following Welsh Covid-19 rules in full,” said a council spokesperson.

“We work closely with our partners from Welsh Government, including Visit Wales, local authorities, the police and other key organisations to ensure that people visitors are aware of the latest Welsh regulations.

“As part of this, signage is in place as people approach Wales to remind them of the need to adhere to Welsh Covid-19 regulations. We also have signage in place in Gwynedd’s towns and popular destinations to remind residents and visitors of the importance of keeping to the rules to help stop the spread of the virus.

“We are promoting the latest Welsh Government regulations on all our channels and reminding those visiting Wales of the need to keep wearing face masks and social distancing.

They added, “Information is also being circulated to Gwynedd businesses via regular bulletins which include posters and assets which can displayed to amplify the Welsh Covid-19 regulations, and our tourism and marketing team are using all their resources including the Snowdonia Mountains and Coast website to make sure that visitors from outside Wales are fully aware of the latest situation.

“Council Covid-19 community engagement officers continue to visit communities across the county to advise residents and businesses and will be reminding members of the public of the latest regulations, including the need to wear face coverings and keep social distance in indoor public places.

“Our priority is to keep the people of Gwynedd and the people who visit our county safe. But we all have a part to play in that and to stop the spread of infection.”

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Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago

Can we have large, clear, bilingual and permanent signs along all of the border reminding those crossing over that they are moving from one nation to another and that different regulations may apply. And as soon as possible please.

Last edited 3 months ago by Nick Randall-Smith
hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago

Friction ? The only friction might arise if some arrogant tourist/visitor decides that the rules “back home” apply to him /her even when in Wales. The friction would then occur as his/her chin gets dragged down the M4/A55 when helped to buzz off home. No need to be too gentle with these morons. Give them exactly what they want to dish out to refugees crossing from France in little dinghies etc

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
3 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Friction? I find that calling the Heddlu can lubricate the situation.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago

Be interesting to know what Powys CC are doing, considering the length of their border with England

defaid
defaid
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Living here, I can say with a degree of confidence… probably nothing. Encouraging visitors to overnight on the roadside perhaps.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  defaid

yes, especially if Fay has any involvement with it, she was all for Powys staying “open” due to our low population density, poor thing, couldn’t quite grasp why our virus numbers appeared to be so low.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Might I suggest a minefield? Relatively inexpensive and self policing.
However, if the county is a bit squeamish about that whole pesky “breaking international law” thing, can I suggest large effigies of well known Welsh people taking the knee against racism? As we know, this will cause all the the thin skinned Brexiteers to froth with rage, shriek “Marxist wokist elitist forriners!!!!” And boycott us!! Meaning that we only get the nice English visiting us.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Another nice cheap way to keep the Anti-Equality one Nation Brexiteer types from violating our beautiful land:- They worship flags right? Well they worship THEIR flag and have invested some kind of b0110cks holy status in it. How about we paint a Butcher’s Teatowel on EVERY road into and out of Cymru that drivers must drive over. This will make them furious and they will boycott us. They will probably express their fury at us by punching Welsh cakes, stamping on cheese on toast and kicking seaweed. Even burning Welsh lamb. All of which they will have to purchase first,… Read more »

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Do you have some kind of perverted fixation with the English?

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

Sorry to disappoint you no. The English as a people (apart from the shallow end of the gene pool) are as nice as anyone anywhere.
But I don’t care for bigots and get great enjoyment counter-trolling.
My interest in UKBIN is only to free Cymru from it because it’s a p155ing disaster for anyone not Wealthy and in the SE of England,
I hope that helps.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Good one Chris!!!!

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

If the rules allow them to visit, our neighbours to the East are very welcome.
If anyone has a snit fit about obeying OUR rules they can enjoy a swift, frictionless return to their place of departure on the toe of a sturdy Welsh boot.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

The Welsh boot option is probably a non-starter but a very hefty instant fine would be possible. Do we have enough police officers?

Last edited 3 months ago by Nick Randall-Smith
Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Maybe we could form a street militia like “Brittan Ferst” or the EDL (but with better fitness levels) to “perteckt are streets”, but from One Nation gammons not “forriners”

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Too many North Walians end up as bitch when they mix it with the Scousers sadly.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

Are you REALLY claiming “we’re harder than you are”?
What are you? 12? 😄😄😄

Ma Karcher
Ma Karcher
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

It was a response to your notion of a militia…

Do it. It would be make for some fun times…

But seriously trying to act all Welsh mafia in North Wales to the local girls who secretly fancy the guys with the six pack and Cheshire money isn’t exactly the Sopranos.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Ma Karcher

Yes I guess the nuance of humour is lost on you then. I can’t believe you’re actually trying to scrabble for credibility by being all “Midlands Gangsta”. You really ARE a child aren’t you?
It’s a hot day. I suggest you take a nap. You seem over tired

Mark
Mark
3 months ago

we could have if policing was devolved

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

I expect many of the hen oed will be glad to get across the border and under the wing of Mr Drakeford for safety’s sake…Refugees…?

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

As a compassionate nation we should take them too. So long as they integrate 🥸

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

I doubt the ones in Penally will agree with you.

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

There are English refugees in Penally?! 🤨

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

Ah you were lying about Penally!! ☝️ the UK Home Orifice run Penally Concentration Camp so would never put Anglos in there!
I think you raised it to suggest Cymru was as hateful to refugees as UKBIN.
Y Senedd does not manage ANY Refugee concentration camps. They are all UKBIN.
When we are free, these will not exist in our nation

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Spot on, helping them to understand that they are really in another country where we have different values and priorities and hopefully a functioning moral code. Sadly the integration part of it seems to get left off the agenda, mind you you can’t help some people…

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Has anybody else had this in the last few days, an unsolicited letter from an estate agent based in England (Fine and Country Properties Ltd) offering a free valuation of our house with the promise of wealthy buyers waiting?

Is Wales up for sale?

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
3 months ago

They are based all over the UK and have franchise members all over Wales.

It would be Welsh agencies doing the deal.

Yes it is up for sale as long as Welsh residents enjoy making money.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

We have had junk mail flyers from local estate agents before but never house address specific, posh paper, letter like offers from a company based nowhere near Wales. I am concerned that our local rural housing market is being targeted by shady estate agents from elsewhere who are trying to hype the market which may further undermine the ability of local people on low incomes in rural Wales to buy their own homes. I saw this sort of venal behaviour by estate agents when I lived in London after leaving university back in the 1980s. When we moved back to… Read more »

Mark Archer
Mark Archer
3 months ago

Again. Local Welsh agents operate under the fine and country banner. Go and see them and make them stop

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark Archer

As if that is going to work. 🤣🤣🤣

Ma Karcher
Ma Karcher
3 months ago

No point moaning if you won’t do anything then.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

My mother in law gets them or similar quite often, I keep my place a tip and get left alone…it has been for sale as long as I can remember. The 70’s was a bad time, some of the best buildings were knocked down and replaced with ugly modern rubbish. Sorry I’m turning into Mrs Tygwyn…

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Mab, The happiest homes are not the neatest homes. If a home is too tidy and the owner worries about its value all the time it’s a sure sign that they need to “get a life”, that’s what father told me fifty years ago. 😂😂😂

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Well it is a “raging success” in the West Bank. Now the ONBs are trying it here. No compulsory purchase orders yet. Just appealing to the greed of home owning Boomers and hoovering up properties for “settlers”

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

I went to Jerusalem and the West Bank a couple of years ago and saw first hand how Israeli (American) money was changing the skyline. 🤔☹️

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

‘American money’ indeed…good to point that out Nick…

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

Did the same back in the 90s. In fairness Jerusalem as a whole is worth a 45 minute toilet stop, but the whole “West Bank Settlement Scheme” is a crime against humanity, as is the illegal Gaza internment camp. As you say USA is the main sponsor of this. Although Priti Evil Patel is trying to get a slice of that action

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

I must admit I went out there with an open mind and came back with little sympathy for the Israeli point of view. From what I saw on the ground Israeli policy towards the Palestinians appeared to be one of suppression, containment and sequestration. Lots of guns and a strong belief in the maxim “might is right”. I didn’t like the place much, the River Jordan is a ditch and the Dead Sea looks like an environmental disaster in progress.

Israel and Jersusalem (1 of 1)-41.jpg
Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 months ago

Excuse the virtue-signalling, but I boycott Israeli produce, and so did my dad.

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