People in Wales urged not to travel to England to shop and drink

4 December 2020, 16:58

Shoppers in Cardiff, Wales, in November
Shoppers in Cardiff, Wales, in November. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

People in Wales are being urged not travel to England to do their Christmas shopping or drink in pubs as Covid-19 cases in the country continue to climb.

First Minister Mark Drakeford’s plea came as tougher restrictions on the hospitality sector came into force, with pubs, bars and restaurants unable to sell alcohol and forced to close at 6pm.

But a relaxing of travel restrictions in Wales means people will be able to go between the country and areas of England under Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh public on Friday not to use the new freedoms to travel across the border for Christmas shopping deals or in search of a drink in areas where pubs and restaurants can sell alcohol.

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Asked whether people can go Christmas shopping in Tier 2 areas on the border such as Hereford or Oswestry, Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government's press briefing on Friday: "The law in Wales will not prevent people from going there.

"The advice from the Welsh Government is not to do it, because the further you travel and the more people you mix with elsewhere, the greater the risk you pose.

"This is a year to go Christmas shopping in Wales, and close to home.”

Asked what is stopping people in Wales flocking into English cities and towns where they would be allowed to drink alcohol, Mr Drakeford said: "The law would not require people in Wales not to travel to a Tier 2 area outside Wales.

"The clear and unambiguous advice to people is not to do it. Because to do it is to add to the risks that we are already facing, and those risks are already driving coronavirus rates rapidly upwards.

"So please, don't do it. It's not good for you, it's not good for anybody you know, it's not good for the rest of the population of Wales."

It comes as the latest figures show Covid-19 case rates are rising in almost every area of Wales. 

The biggest jumps are in Neath Port Talbot, Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil. Only one area - Denbighshire - has recorded a drop.

The number of new cases per 100,000 people in Neath Port Talbot has risen week-on-week from 311.2 to 471.0, while in Swansea the rate has increased from 249.4 to 368.4. In Merthyr Tydfil, the rate is up from 261.9 to 377.9.

The figures, for the seven days to November 30, are based on tests carried out in NHS Wales laboratories and those conducted on Welsh residents processed in commercial laboratories.