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Reopening shops in Wales before England ‘perverse incentive’ for people to cross border says Drakeford

12 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Picture by Llywelyn 2000 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Reopening non-essential shops in Wales before England may have provided a “perverse incentive” for people from England to travel into Wales, Mark Drakeford has said.

The First Minister was answering a question at today’s press conference explaining why not all non-essential shops in Wales will reopen until 12 April.

The Conservatives have criticised the Welsh Government for what they are calling an “U-turn” on re-opening non-essential retail in Wales.

There had been indications earlier in the week that the re-opening of non-essential shops was imminent, although no firm dates had come directly from the Welsh Government.

But Mark Drakeford said that there had been no U-turn and the reasoning was that he was eager not to give people a “perverse incentive for people to cross the border.” He added that cases in Wales were around half those in England.

He added that tourism re-opening on 27 March would also be done in such a way so that only people in Wales can travel to self-contained accommodation here.

Current rules for England note that on 29 March no one should stay away from home overnight at this stage, minimise travel, and no holidays.

“This isn’t about England and Wales,” he said. “It’s about stopping people from high incidence areas from moving to low incidence areas.

“There is an anxiety in those communities that tourism will reopen safely. We look forward to welcoming people back to Wales when it’s safe to do so.”

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