Posted: Sat 30th May 2020

Updated: Sat 30th May

Lockdown easing from Monday – 5 mile rule explained and how it will work for those of use living close to the border

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Residents in Wales are being urged to “stay local” when new guidance allowing two households from the same local area to meet outside comes into place on Monday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford outlined the next stage of easing the lockdown measures in Wales during a press conference on Friday.

For the first time since lockdown measures were introduced in March allow people will be meet with other households provided that social distancing measures are kept, that you stay outside and stay local.

In this case staying local means not travelling more than five miles from home to see another household.

People can drive further than five miles however for shopping and to pick up essentials, such as medicine.

Welsh Government have published a range of ‘FAQ’ style Q&A for common questions about today’s information – viewable here.

The First Minister explains the changes here: 

During the press conference, Mark Drakeford was asked why a five mile radius was being applied for meeting up with another household and not for travelling to the likes of a supermarket.

Mr Drakeford said it was important to reduce the risk of coronavirus from spreading from one community to another and therefore creating new hotspots, he said: “By local we mean not generally traveling more than five miles and that is to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.

That five minute rule of thumb will have to be applied carefully and sensitively by people using their own judgment in the different geographies of Wales. This is so important, because the need for care is clear, coronavirus has not gone away. It remains names a silent spreader.

You can be infectious without ever knowing that you are ill. We are putting five miles into guidance because as people go outside more and are more mobile, we need to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading from one community to another creating new hotspots.”

He said that guidance was being offered to those living in Wales but people need to use “their own judgment in local geographies.”

“If you had to travel a longer distance than five miles now to get food or medicines, you will be allowed to do that under the stay at home regulations and you are allowed to do so under the stay local regulations as well.

But what I’m asking people to do is to use that judgment seriously and soberly.

The further you travel, the greater the risk that is posed to yourself of coronavirus ending up in parts of Wales where we’ve succeeded in keeping it to a minimum. Nobody I think wants to do that.

If you can manage within the five mile radius for food and medicines and essential things that’s what you should do.”

Map shows a five mile radius of Deeside with the centre point being Queensferry, crossing over the border to England – as indicated by the white line through the map – people are then bound by England’s lockdown rules which puts no restriction on how far you can travel.

Asked if people could use their own judgment and perhaps travel further than five miles to meet a family member who lives in the same local authority, Mr Drakeford urged people to stick to the regulations being put in place.

Mr Drakeford said: “I want to say to people that exercising your own judgment does not mean regarding five miles as 10 miles, unless you have to do that because you can’t get medicines and you can’t get food. That is an essential purpose.

It remains the safest way to contact someone who is close to you, and who is part of your loved ones, to do it by telephone to do it by email to do it by Skype, and only do it in face to face in the very limited circumstances we have described here.

But I do want to say to those people, I really understand that if you are just the other side of a border, you will feel that this is rough justice, and other people are being able to do things that you can’t.

This is for the next three weeks. If we’re able to do this in the right way, and the virus and the R rate at the end of three weeks isn’t higher than it is today, we will have some further headroom to do more things in a future period.

So this is not forever, this is for the next three weeks. That’s why it’s so important that everybody does it carefully.

That’s why it’s so important that everybody does it properly. Because in that way, we have the best chance of getting to the end of this three week period and to be able to do more for people who are not going to be in the position that others are as a result of today’s changes.”

In terms of those who live on the Wales and England border, the First Minister was asked how far people could travel under the new guidance and if it discourages people from visiting Wales.

Mr Drakeford noted that if people living on the border “can travel into England within our rules, if they can get into England while staying local, then once they are in England they’re subject to the rules and regulations that apply in England. That would mean that they will be able to travel further and see other people.”

This also means that those travelling into Wales from England are then expected to follow the Welsh guidance on travel.

Member of the Senedd for Alyn and Deeside, Jack Sargeant said: “There are residents in my constituency who can cross the street and be in England, there is no way of policing that. 

We all have a part to play in keeping the infection rate down in Alyn and Deeside, we do that by following social distancing rules and strict hygiene practices whenever we meet people from outside of our household”

Welsh Government have published a range of ‘FAQ’ style Q&A for common questions about today’s information – viewable here.

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