Welsh Gov defends Drakeford dancing without mask at Diwali celebration
The Welsh Government has defended Mark Drakeford after he danced without a mask at a Diwali celebration.
A video of the First Minister strutting his stuff went viral on social media, but he came in for heavy criticism in some quarters because he was not wearing a face covering while surrounded by people in an indoor area.
Face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport. But a spokesperson for the Welsh Government pointed to regulations that say that face coverings are not required in a premises where food and drink is served.
🚨 | NEW: Mark Drakeford dancing maskless in a crowded setting – despite urging people to wear masks
— Politics For All (@PoliticsForAlI) November 14, 2021
However critics, including Covid-19 stats whiz Lloyd Warburton, have accused Mark Drakeford of “hypocrisy” because he has encouraged the use of face coverings.
In response to the video Lloyd said: “He went to some sort of Diwali event last week, just as his colleagues were telling us to wear masks and behave responsibly to avoid more restrictions. Today, this video has come out showing that he himself is not following the advice.”
Meirion Thomas said: “The @PrifWeinidog is again no different to other leaders ‘do as I say not as I do’. What on earth is wrong with them.”
Eric Hall said: “Not a single mask in evidence anywhere.”
But Mike Bryant said: “I would imagine it was an organised event where you had to either have a covid passport or a negative test. The mask mandate is ‘for open to all’ areas where there isn’t any control.”
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government told Nation.Cymru: “Face coverings are not required in premises where food and drink is served”.
According to the Welsh Government advice: “This is because the purpose of attending those places is to eat and drink, for which a face covering is not practical and, therefore, not required.”
‘Festival of lights’
The festival of lights was marked last week at Cardiff University by Mark Drakeford and Gaitri Issar Kumar, Indian High Commissioner to the UK.
The annual Diwali celebrations are a must-go to event for many in the strong Indian diaspora community in Wales. According to the 2011 census, there were 24,000 Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs in Wales.
They also inaugurated the Ganga Connect exhibition which focuses on reversing environmental damage to the Ganga river eco-system in India.
In his keynote address, the First Minister said that borders are irrelevant in the climate crises and impacts cannot be mitigated by individual countries acting alone, with international collaboration being the only way forward.
The Indian High Commissioner to the UK highlighted how Indians revere the Ganges and shared the high priority which the Government of India places upon the Namami Gange mission.
She further commented how Namami Gange mission brings together public policy, technology intervention and community participation to revive and rejuvenate River Ganga.
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