Wales could face varying 'stay local' restrictions, Health Minister says

10 March 2021, 17:06

File photo: People in an almost empty central shopping area of Cardiff, Wales
File photo: People in an almost empty central shopping area of Cardiff, Wales. Picture: PA

By Megan White

People in Wales can expect varying travel restrictions depending on where they live if the country moves to "stay local" rules next week, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said.

Mr Gething said those living in more rural areas would be given allowance to travel greater distances than those in urban towns and cities.

The current "stay-at-home" requirement is expected to be lifted in Wales by Monday, with First Minister Mark Drakeford due to announce changes to restrictions at a press conference on Friday.

Mr Gething told Wednesday's Welsh Government briefing that unlike the previous "stay local" period in force last year, which restricted travel to five miles from home, limits would take account of areas' geography.

He said: "If, like me, you're fortunate enough to live in Penarth, then a few miles from Penarth you can do lots of things.

"If I lived in the middle of Powys or Anglesey, within a few miles I might not be able to do them, so we do recognise that if we go to stay local, it will be slightly different depending on where you live."

He said any new rules would likely last a "few weeks", adding: "Then we think we may be in a position to go beyond that."

Mr Gething said he recognised that the rules on travel would need to be relaxed to an even greater extent to allow self-contained holiday accommodation to reopen in time for Easter.

"We do know that if we're going to have an effective restart for parts of the tourism sector here, then a 'stay local' period probably doesn't mean those businesses can open," he said.

"We're asking people to stick with it for a period of weeks, and to be sensible about it."