Police urge people to stay away from North Wales over Bank Holiday weekend
Police are once again urging people to stay away from North Wales over the Bank Holiday weekend as travel restrictions remain in place.
It’s the third Bank Holiday weekend since lockdown measures came into force across the UK but its the first since rules were relaxed for people in England.
People in England are allowed to drive anywhere to take exercise, except across borders, in Wales the ‘stay at home’ message remains in place.
The situation in Wales has been made particularly difficult by the differing messages being given out in England, where people have arrived at beaches in their droves during the recent warm spell.
Cheshire West and Chester Council joined with Flintshire County Council to appeal to residents in England to respect the current guidelines in Wales and not travel over the border at the present time.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Many of our residents enjoy travelling to Wales, which has many beautiful areas to visit, but now is not the time to do so.
We politely ask our residents in Cheshire West to respect the current situation in Wales.
The Welsh Government has not relaxed the freedom of movement restrictions in the same way that the Prime Minister has for England.
Our residents should not be travelling over the border into Wales at this moment, and not until the restrictions have been lifted by the Welsh Government. We ask our residents to remain in England.
We have strong connections with our neighbours across the border in Wales and the Mersey Dee Alliance is an example of this effective collaboration.
We look forward to the day when all these restrictions are lifted in both Wales and England and people can return to our normal way of life and visit the wonderful, scenic areas of Wales which many of us enjoy so much.”
In a joint statement from Colin Everett, Chief Executive of Flintshire County Council and Cllr. Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire County Council, said: “There are very close ties between our two counties and people are used to regularly travelling across the county border to work, shop and visit family and friends.
For many, crossing the border as a matter of course has been part of their regular exercise routines for many years, particularly for cyclists and we do understand people’s frustrations at this time.
However, for now, we ask for your understanding and only come to Flintshire, or any other county in Wales, if it is essential.
We look forward to welcoming everybody when the current restrictions on travel and social distancing have been relaxed.”
North Wales Police has thanked people in the region for largely sticking to the COVID-19 regulations and only going out when essential “the majority of you have been fantastic in staying inside and following the rules.”
“But we need to keep going” said Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Harrison.
“Everyone must continue to contribute to the national effort to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and I am grateful to the vast majority who have made significant changes to their daily habits and routines. You really are playing your part in helping to save lives.
Restrictions remain more stringent here in Wales. Our tourist attractions, parts of the national park, pubs, restaurants, cafes, caravan, holiday parks and campsites all remain closed. When exercising you must stay local.”
T/ACC Harrison added: “Despite our repeated messages including national media coverage, we’ve continued to see people travelling totally unreasonable distances into north Wales which is extremely disappointing.
Our focus continues to be to reassure, inform and engage with people so they understand why these restrictions are in place.
Teams continue to be out and about in our communities and on the road networks, and will be once again this weekend, ensuring the people are complying with the restrictions.”
North Wales Police are also reminding people that it is not legal to drive to second and holiday homes, and neither is driving to the Snowdonia National Park and other beauty spots to walk or exercise.
T/ACC Harrison said: “Please stay in your primary residence. North Wales will still be here once the pandemic is over and we look forward to getting things back to normal and welcoming people back as soon as we can.
The NHS and other key workers are doing an incredible job in keeping the public safe, but we ask you to consider that increasing the population of our area will place an unreasonable burden on them.
Don’t be the selfish one that undoes all the good work that has been done over the last nine weeks this is about making sure loved ones are able to get out and enjoy north Wales once again as soon as possible, the police should not be needed to reinforce common sense.
We thank you for your continued support and understanding in these exceptional times, and we continue to work hard to make north Wales as safe as possible.”
The Welsh Government has confirmed that from tomorrow the maximum penalties for breaching the lockdown will rise.
The existing fines structure, which imposed a £60 fine for a first offence rising to £120 for a second and subsequent offences, will be replaced by a new structure in which the fines double for every offence – rising from £60 to £120 to £1,920 for the sixth offence.
While the move has been welcomed in some quarters, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has accused the First Minister of “fudging” the decision by keeping the minimum fine level the same.
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