Welsh Conservatives slam ‘arbitrary’ five mile lockdown rule in Wales
A Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd has criticised the expected announcement that people in Wales will only be allowed to travel five miles to see family and friends.
Coronavirus restrictions are likely to be relaxed next week in Wales so people from two different households can meet each other outdoors.
However they will need to stay in their local area – a distance expected to be set at five miles – and remain two metres apart.
South Wales Central MS, Andrew RT Davies, has tonight written to the First Minister asking him to amend the “arbitrary” regulation before tomorrow’s official announcement.
If not, Davies has asked the Welsh Government to publish the scientific evidence on which this regulation has been based.
“First and foremost, I welcome the Welsh Government’s decision to allow people from different households to meet, which is great news to many people and families in Wales,” Andrew RT Davies said.
“However, whilst this is the right course of action, the First Minister is in danger of giving with one hand and taking away with another by imposing this arbitrary five-mile travel rule. It must go.
“Not everyone in Wales lives in a town or city close to family and friends and this will unfairly impact on those in our rural communities.
“I therefore politely ask the First Minister to change this regulation prior to tomorrow’s announcement and ensure everyone in Wales can have the pleasure of seeing their family and friends next week.
“If he chooses not to, then the Welsh Labour Government should share the scientific evidence on which this decision has been made with the public.”
Plaid Cymru said the Welsh Government’s cautious approach on lifting restrictions was right, but called for a clearer strategy so that the public know what lies ahead in coming weeks and months.
Shadow Health Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, pointed to the Republic of Ireland’s multi-phase plan as “clear approach to lifting restrictions”, although he warned that dates for relaxing various restrictions must be changeable, depending on patterns of the pandemic over time.
“The people of Wales have generally adhered well to lockdown restrictions, and understand the need to take a cautious approach,” he said.
“Plaid Cymru advocates such a cautious approach, but given how isolated many people are feeling, I had urged Government to look at steps such as allowing families to meet in the open air, on the grounds of welfare, as long as it was based on science and risk management.
“But the public would also benefit from having a clearer plan of how restrictions will be managed. I don’t think the current ‘traffic light’ system offers that. I hope Welsh Ministers will look at the model they have in Ireland, where there’s a phased approach for all to see.
“Key to lifting of restrictions, of course, will be the robustness of the Welsh test and trace scheme, due to start next week. We’ll be watching closely to gauge its effectiveness. Welsh Government must get that right, or the relaxing of restrictions puts people at renewed risk, and they need to be ready to backtrack if there are negative consequences.”
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I live in the middle of Wales and five miles wouldn’t get me to any of my family. Even though they all ‘live locally’
I believe the guidelines give concessions to those living in Rural Wales
Expect the Conservatives would prefer a 260 mile travel limit of course !!!
5 miles is ridiculous, do they think all families live within 5 miles of each other, 50 miles would be better, wales is mostly a rural country. The amount of friends who have children living over the 5 mile limit is in the majority. We dont all live next door to each other.
Actually some 80% of the population of Wales live on the coastal plains. Mainly in the south, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.
True. Philip Hughes. Though 5 miles would certainly be no use to me
Won’t be much use to me, but we are in the midst of a crisis. We had nearly 2 months to prepare for this, London used that time to dick around and dither. All we got from the PM was Umms and Errs and now a worse death rate than Italy, who were screaming at everyone to prepare. According to Euromomo’s update on excess deaths. England is the only country that has “extremely high excess mortality” (in Europe). Wales has low excess. Scotland moderate excess. Northern Ireland doing very well. I may not get to see my mother for a… Read more »
This is exactly what I think , it very unfair
Does the Labour Party have a direction within their general Party Constitution, that prohibits them for even considering the needs of Rural dwellers? My family and friends, live “locally”, all within the curtilage of the Llyn Peninsula but it’s a damn sight further than 5 miles to get anywhere, apart from further down a country lane, let alone to the nearest village, or more outlying areas where most of the farming community are. Do the First Minister and his advisors, find it impossible, to think outside the Cardiff, Swansea and South Walean box, where communities are more closely linked? They… Read more »
I don’t think there is an answer that will please everyone. As in England, there is a balancing match to be had between managing people’s expectations, some of which are unrealistic, and recognising that the virus is still rampant in our communities and will be for some time to come. More concerning, I think, is that the UK will soon have several separate Track and Trace systems in place. Does anyone know whether (a) these will be the same systems and (b) what level of cross-border co-operation there will be?
Have been driving more than 5 miles throughout- to buy food! It’s a nonsensical limit.
Andrew Irrelevant Davies going off half-cocked again. The details won’t be known until next week so rather than debate things in the proper place he tries to divert attention from the total Domnishambles across the dyke. Today we learn that the idiots over there have 350,000 test results they can’t match up to individuals because they didn’t get addresses. We learn that 120,000 tests really mean a maximum of 40,000 patients which is never going to become 200,000 by Monday. We learn that Dominic Cummings’ sister is getting a huge bung for Test and Trace and that Dido Harding, total… Read more »
All true I was saying about Dons sister two weeks ago as well as the fact he has been in conversations regarding a vaccine with companies within GlaxoSmithKline ( they actually got it ) which just happens to be based in the birthday outing area .. I also read something yesterday that Dom himself will also get his own pharmaceuticals base for research ??? That scared me with a massive budget.. so diversionary yes … I think there have always been allowances for people in rural areas .. the 5 miles is to prevent an England style breakout small steps… Read more »
Through the whole covid-19 situation neither the UK/England Government nor the Welsh Government seem capable of understanding that people can live and work on either side of the Wales-England border or have family on both sides of the border. While those of us in that position seem quite capable of talking to each other, politicians seem totally incapable of such communication, though their ability to score petty points at each others’ expense remains undimmed. They can’t even choreograph their announcements because they have more than half an eye on their own interests rather than a total focus on the needs… Read more »
For once, I agree with Andrew RT. What is the justification for 5 miles, which won’t get you from one side of Cardiff to the other let alone let people in rural areas or the valleys see family? If there is science behind this, let’s see it. Some limit on travel is reasonable but a five mile limit makes the easing of restrictions a joke for most people.
This is a hard one to call but I would surmise that part of the logic is to gradually release the lockdown bit by bit so that things gradually return to normal. Whilst the five mile rule is arbitrary to an extent you could argue that it is important so as to avoid the scenes that were witnessed in England on Bank Holiday weekend last week. It would have been better to say nothing as people have been travelling five miles or more anyway for shopping etc. That said, I’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings and if there is… Read more »
Really!!! 5mile in Rural Wales. I can’t even get to the supermarket within 5 miles!!!! Does this man even LIVE in Wales because 5 miles doesn’t get me anywhere near ANY friends, family or shops!!!
It’s swings and roundabouts.
People who live in rural wales have for the past couple of months had access to an attractive environment to exercise in. Possible from when they step out of the front door. Rural properties also usually have bigger(sometimes much bigger) gardens. Supermarket queues in rural areas have been significantly shorter than in urban areas. The “typical” rural dweller has had a much less difficult lockdown than the “typical” urban dweller.
In my opinion the implementation of a five mile limit won’t change that.
Frankly, after Cummingsgate, I’ll go as far as I bloody well want.
I feel the effect of that too. On the other hand I’m impelled to caution by the fact that I’m an old feller and thus a particularly vulnerable target for Covid-19 !
Childish and irrelevant in Wales?
Dyna’r perygl -ran fwya o bobl yn gallach gobeithio
I can’t really see the point of the fuss here. I heard Mark Drakeford being interviewed on the radio this morning, and he made it clear enough that five miles was going to be suggested as a ‘rule of thumb’ guideline and that there would be people living in more thinly populated and remote areas who would of necessity have to travel further to take advantage of the relaxation of the ‘stay home’ restriction. Which seems to me to make sense. We’re living currently in a very rural area in Dyffryn Clwyd, but our nearest towns are, respectively, five miles… Read more »
Absolutely ridiculous setting the distance 5 miles! I like many others live rurally and it’s more than 5 miles to my friends. If they think the majority of people are going to comply with that then they are delusional! Where’s the scientific evidence to support this limit?
5 miles is pathetic! I live 12 miles from my nearest relative and they are still classed as ”local”. I could jump in my car, get out on my parent’s drive, sit in the garden (2 meters away), jump back in my car, drive home and have less of a risk infecting someone than other members of my family who live a mile away from them and walk to the house to be in the garden. We are being punished for living further afield. 25 miles is acceptable, not 5! I’d struggle to get to the next village along in… Read more »
” I’d struggle to get to the next village along in 5 miles.”
I’m assuming that struggle is not because of a disability affecting your mobility.
If so you’ve had the access to at least one ten mile walking/jogging/cycling route flanked by the countryside for the past couple of months. Or maybe nature has been punishing you with it’s good looks, fresh air, peace and quiet, wildlife etc.
Mark Drakeford has now qualified the five miles as a general indication in interview. But the number will inevitably be the headline and no amount of glossing will outweigh its impact.. I wouldn’t have done it despite the calls to explain “local”. It will be the only thing that many people hear. The presence of any single number looks arbitrary and encourages people to say “that doesn’t work for me” and to make up their own minds. That is where we need to get to – we can’t stay in this situation for ever and we’re going to have to… Read more »
I get the feeling that quite few of those complaining about a five mile limit might in other circumstances be telling us (or maybe that’s others) that we all need to show the same spirit as those who experienced the Blitz did.
By their own standards complaining that you’re unable to immediately meet friends face to face isn’t an attitude that compares favorably to one dealing with the ordeal of sleeping night after night underground as bombs rain down.
Some of the comments here.
My mother lives near me but has no garden and mobility not great, so she could not walk to an area to meet any of the family outside unless I could pick her up in my car, use a mask to protect her and then drive to my garden. Is this acceptable?
New word ‘Govidiots’ does Mark Drakeford even know that North Wales even exists.? The 5 mile radius seems to refer too is visiting Family and friends’ Does that mean if your not travelling to meet friends and family, but for another purpose such as going to a suitable location for a stroke disabled person too enjoy safe exercise, then this limit does not apply? I am a carer for a stroke survivor and to enjoy outdoor walking exercises with my wife we have to walk side by side holding hands for balance & support. On local narrow foot and cycle… Read more »
I wonder if Mr Davies is going to comment on the fact, that his party in London, through Downing st, have just admitted, that they are removing lockdown in England before it has been recommended by the experts, who they claim to be listening to. Mr Drakeford did say it was a rule of thumb, so I would imagine some leeway, for certain people.
I think this is mean my family live more than 5 miles away , it’s very very unfair it’s making a difference between people some people will be overjoyed , today but what are others suppose to do , I havnt got any interest in going to garden Center or seeing any one Else I just want to see my children , please can you help , it’s so so unfair ! I’m pleased for the people that are in that 5 mile catogory . But I’m not This can’t be fair .. I was so looking forwards to hear… Read more »
I agree. All my family and friends live more than 5 miles. Hearing this has made me feel like I am slowly going insane. I’ve ridgedly stuck to the rules for 12 weeks with my children. My 74 year old mother has already seen her friends. I’m on my own with the children and don’t know people around to even have a conversation with.
Sorry whether the rule is arbitrary or not I question the motive for any Conservative criticism, especially with their record. It generally isn’t our of any public concern – just a way to improve ratings and gain more votes. Anyway, any recent advances into Cymru by the party have now been crushed – see today’s (28th May) NationCymru article – https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=rm&ogbl#inbox/FMfcgxwHNWJRZJLFNJlHkfnvbVxMsWhT – due ue to the party’s incompetence.
My family lives 20 miles away and I have adhered to all lockdown measures but it is killing me not seeing my kids. Please for my sanity change this rule.
Living in Wales is now like living in a communist police state. A little control in the wrong hands is a dangerous thing.