Wales FINALLY ends travel ban to England: Non-essential travel will be allowed to Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas from tomorrow night despite Cardiff imposing fresh lockdown curbs
Wales is finally ending its blanket ban on travel to England – although restrictions are set to stay on visiting Tier 3 areas.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the rules are being overhauled from 6pm tomorrow, amid a backlash at his handling of the crisis.
Regulations imposed after Wales’ ‘firebreak’ lockdown ended on November 9 bar people from travelling to other parts of the UK without a reasonable excuse.
The latest change mean some people will be allowed to visit areas across the border for the first time since September.
Caerphilly was the first area of Wales placed into a local lockdown on September 8, meaning residents could not leave the area unless it was essential.
A further 16 areas of the country were also placed under local restrictions in the following weeks before the entire country entered the 17-day firebreak.
Police carrying out checks on drivers on the border between Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire last month
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the rules are being overhauled from 6pm tomorrow, amid a backlash at his handling of the crisis
The new tiers in England, with green representing Tier 1, orange Tier 2, and red Tier 3
New legislation published on the Welsh Government’s website says from 6pm tomorrow travel will be prohibited between Wales and Tier 3 areas of England, Level 3 or 4 areas of Scotland, and the whole of Northern Ireland, which is currently under lockdown.
The Welsh Government said it would be ‘strongly advising people in Wales not to travel to other parts of the UK with lower levels of coronavirus’ to help control the spread of the virus.
The travel restrictions will be suspended between December 23 and 27 to allow people to meet members of their Christmas bubble, and then will remain in place until ‘at least January 2021’, it said.
Announcing the new rules, Mr Drakeford said: ‘There will be no restrictions on travel within Wales but we need to have some restrictions on travel across the border to those parts of the UK where infection rates are high to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
‘We are also advising people in Wales not to travel into those parts of England and Scotland where the infection rate is lower, to help prevent them taking coronavirus with them.
‘Coronavirus doesn’t respect borders – we all have a part to play in keeping Wales and the UK safe. Please think carefully about where you are going and what you are doing. This virus thrives wherever we come together with others.
‘Taken together with our other measures, these travel restrictions will help to keep us all safe.’
Earlier this week Mr Drakeford announced new curbs on the hospitality sector following a sharp uptick in coronavirus infections, especially among the under-25s.
From tomorrow pubs, bars and restaurants will only be allowed to remain open until 6pm, and operate as takeaways afterwards.
And they will not be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks under a scheme like that in place in Scotland for weeks.
Under the new programme, cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will also close, but non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms and leisure centres can stay open.
After the ‘firebreak’ ended, people were allowed to meet indoors in groups of up to four people in places like pubs and restaurants, with no alcohol sales before 6pm and a 10.20pm curfew.
Up to 15 people were also allowed to take part in ‘an organised indoors activity’ like an exercise class, and non-essential retain reopened.
But coronavirus cases then spiked from 160 per 100,000 to 210 per 100,000.