First Minister – reintroducing the five mile “stay local” regulations not “proportionate” at the moment
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the Welsh government thought “hard” yesterday about whether to bring back the five mile “stay local” regulations in Wales.
The ‘guidance’ required people in Wales to stay within five miles of their homes was scrapped by the Welsh government in July as lockdown measures eased.
Yesterday Mr Drakeford made a televised addresses to the people of Wales to talk about measures being introduced to prevent a fresh Coronavirus crisis.
The First Minister asked people to “only travel when you need to do so” and reiterated people needed to continue working from home wherever possible.
During today’s Welsh government press conference the First Minister was asked what the specific guidance with regards to his “only travel when you need to do so” message.
Mr Drakeford said: “The key guidance is for people to think carefully about what they are doing and to make sensible judgments in their own circumstances.”
“We thought hard yesterday about whether we should go back to a regulation on a stay local basis, I’ve decided that that is not proportionate in Wales at this time.”
He said: “What I am doing is just asking people in Wales to think carefully. It is not a message about not going shopping or not going to hospitality or not going to a holiday.”
“It is just asking people to think about the journeys they make, if you can visit a pub or a restaurant close to home where you don’t need to make the journey, that is preferable than getting in your car and going for the same experience further away from home.” He said.
Mr Drakeford added: “It is a common sense piece of advice and it’s rooted in this isn’t it, coronavirus regulations and the advice, it’s not a game, It’s not a matter of thinking about how you can get around the rules and how far you can stretch them.
“It’s about asking yourself what contribution you can make by acting sensibly and avoiding things that are not necessary and which in themselves pose a risk.”
Commenting on the COBR meeting held yesterday with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Drakeford said: “I did try to persuade the Prime Minister yesterday to echo our message here in Wales, of asking people to think carefully about journeys that they are making and to ask themselves whether those journeys are necessary.
“I noticed that he didn’t do that in the messages that he has given to people in England, but I think it’s a good message in all parts of the UK.”
The First Minister was also asked why he didn’t go further with the restrictions announced last night. In both Scotland and Northern Ireland it has been announced that indoor household visits have been banned.
Similar restrictions on people mixing are in place in the local lockdown areas in South Wales, however the First Minister said he was keen to focus on “local measures to reflect local circumstances.”
Mr Drakeford said: “As much as possible, our aim in the Welsh Government is to have a small number of national measures supplemented when necessary by local action.
“Those people in the six local authorities in South East Wales who are living under far tighter restrictions have seen the impact in their lives.”
It was revealed yesterday that Flintshire, along with Denbighshire, Anglesey and Conway are now on the Welsh Government’s daily ‘watch’ list.
That’s due to the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 – over a seven day period – hitting a key marker of 25 cases per 100,000 population.
Yesterday Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales said the four north Wales counties were now in the “amber zone” and the number of cases is being “closely monitored.”
In terms of the measures that are being introduced, such as the 10pm closure time on restaurants and pubs, the First Minister explained that it created consistency with England and would “reduce the temptation” of people from Chester potentially travelling over to Wrexham after that time to visit hospitality here,
You can view the full briefing on the below video:
Yn fyw nawr gyda’r Prif Weinidog Mark Drakeford | Live now with First Minister Mark Drakeford https://t.co/331NbIbsyP
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) September 23, 2020
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