The county of Gwynedd in the north-west has seen the largest collapse in consumer spending as a result of Covid-19 in both Wales and England, according to business data.
The data by SIB, a regeneration charity, provided to Tortoise Media suggests that the towns of Pwllheli and Porthmadog in Gwynedd are among the hardest hit across Wales and also England. Figures for Scotland and other countries were not available for comparison.
Gwynedd, which is home to Snowdonia national park and popular with tourists, saw a 59 per cent drop in consumer spending over Easter. Cornwall’s losses, in second place, stand at 53 per cent.
The figures are in comparison with previous Easter seasons, which usually see a big rise in spending in tourist areas.
The figures were revealed as the Welsh Government asked people to avoid travel to and within Wales over the bank holiday weekend.
In an open letter, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, Cllr Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Chair of Policing Wales & Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, and the Chair of the Welsh Chief Officer Group, Chief Constable Carl Foulkes, called on people to stay home.
The letter also makes clear that travelling to a second home does not ordinarily constitute essential travel, and that anyone leaving or remaining away from the place where they are living without a reasonable excuse is committing an offence.
The signatories to the letter end by saying: “We look forward to welcoming you back once it is safe again to do so. Until then please stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”
“Wales is a beautiful and welcoming country but, like other administrations across the United Kingdom, the Welsh Government has placed restrictions on non-essential travel at this time of national emergency. We have also limited access to our national parks, and imposed restrictions on caravan and campsites, hotels, B&Bs and holiday accommodation. These businesses can currently open only in response to a request from the Welsh Government or a local authority.
“We have taken this action to protect health and protect our NHS by limiting the transmission of Covid-19 in communities in Wales.
“The vast majority of people are respecting the restrictions and are making strong efforts to adhere to them. We are asking everyone to continue to respect these measures. In particular, we are asking all owners of second homes in Wales to act responsibly and to avoid travelling to those homes until restrictions have been lifted.
“The Welsh Government and Public Health Wales have been clear throughout the emergency period that travelling to a second home does not ordinarily constitute essential travel. Indeed, anyone leaving or remaining away from the place where they are living without a reasonable excuse is committing an offence.
“Crucially, they are also putting themselves and the communities to which they travel at risk. They are placing an avoidable strain on the police, adding pressure to our health services and additional demands on supply chains.
“Police forces and local authorities in Wales have a range of enforcement powers. The police continue to take a vigilant approach to all travel undertaken without a reasonable excuse.
“The Welsh Government will work with the police, local authorities and others to keep the Regulations and sanctions under review.
“It is vital that we minimise transmission rates: ensuring that we travel only when essential and permitted plays a key part in this.
“We look forward to welcoming you back once it is safe again to do so. Until then please stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”