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Welsh Secretary urges Drakeford to adopt England-style tiered approach to Wales’ lockdown

27 Nov 2020 3 minutes Read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Mark Drakeford AM (right), picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh Secretary has urged the First Minister to adopt a tiered approach to Wales’ coming lockdown, in line with the three-tiered approach adopted in England.

Simon Hart said that it would enable the Government to target the toughest measures in areas where COVID-19 is “most prevalent” or where Wales was “seeing sharper increases in the rate of infection”.

Mark Drakeford said yesterday that any coronavirus rules would “most likely” be imposed on a Wales-wide basis, rather than a tier system.

“There things that they do there [England= that we’re not doing here in Wales, that we would do, most likely, on a Wales-wide basis… in the run up to Christmas. We’ve got four weeks left,” he said.

But Simon Hart said that he should adopt a similar set up to England.

“You are, of course, keeping restrictions in Wales under continuous review, and I am aware that you are set to announce the next stage of restrictions in the coming days,” he said in a letter to the First Minister.

“I would welcome serious consideration being given to adopting a regionally-differentiated, tiered approach, which would bring Wales into alignment with the restrictions being implemented in England and Scotland.

“As well as providing clear messaging to the public and businesses, particularly those residing in communities along the border, a regionally-differentiated, tiered approach would target restrictions more precisely at areas of higher incidence and result in better implementation of UK Government support packages.”

 

‘Blow’

The Welsh Secretary’s intervention comes as the hospitality industry warned that tighter Covid restrictions in Wales before Christmas would be “incredibly difficult” for them.

Founder of the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective, Simon Wright told BBC Radio Wales’ Breakfast on Friday, there needs to be clarity for the hospitality sector ahead of the festive period.

“It’s been a year of great struggle – a year of stop-start – mostly stop,” said Mr Wright, who runs a restaurant in Carmarthen.

“We are approaching the time of year when people would anticipate being at their busiest. We weren’t anticipating this post-firebreak, not being able to trade before Christmas.

“If something like that happens, it is going to be a huge blow.

“There’s a lot of trepidation around Wales this morning in terms of businesses and staff in the hospitality trade.”

The Welsh Government’s cabinet is meeting on Friday to discuss its latest response to the pandemic.

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