Posted: Sat 4th Apr 2020

Calls for military intervention to stop tourists flocking to North Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Apr 4th, 2020

A North Wales council’s tourism chief has called for the army to be brought in to blockade Angleseyto protect the island from people flouting social distancing rules.

The call follows a joint statement from the region’s six councils urging holidaymakers to stay away during the Covid-19 pandemic.

North Wales Police have also stepped up patrols aimed towards establishing the purpose of people’s journeys as they travelled over Offa’s Dyke.

But according to one AM, there have been several reports of tourists ignoring both government and more local calls for all non-essential travel to be avoided in order to maintain social isolation.

This had led to more drastic calls for the military to be called in to clamp down on such movement.

Cllr Carwyn Jones, Anglesey Council’s tourism portfolio holder, has written to the local MP urging her to press on the Government to take further action.

“Reports are coming thick and fast from every corner of Anglesey of holiday home owners and tourists arriving in their droves for a bit of Easter fun,” said Cllr Jones.

“Needless to say, the worry this is causing local constituents is considerable and it’s clear that these are showing no regards to the measures put in place by the Government and are putting lives at risk.

“The risk to the residents of Anglesey is increasing considerably and the ability of our NHS to cope.  The measures need to be much stricter, powers to enforce stronger and more resources needed to manage and control the measures.”

He added: “The police are doing a fantastic job with the resource at their disposal, however more backing is needed and I would now suggest the Army needs to be deployed to help the situation by manning the two bridges and hotspots before more and more start arriving.”

The island’s AM, Rhun ap Iorwerth, confirmed that he had received “several reports” of visitors arriving in “significant numbers,” adding he had “no idea what they were thinking.”
 
“I was speaking to the local authority and police today (Friday), more stops are being carried out on cars arriving here and police have powers to hand out fixed penalty notices but we don’t want that to happen, we’d rather that people stayed at their primary addresses,” he said.
 
“The message is clear: stay at home and save lives by taking pressure off the NHS, which has enough work on its hands over the coming weeks in looking after the local population.”
 

On Friday, Anglesey’s MP urged second home owners to stay at their main residences, acknowledging there had been “tensions” with reports of some locals pleading directly with holiday owners to leave the island.

“Local supermarkets and pharmacies are also experiencing supply issues, and we have a duty to ensure those who don’t have the ability to go elsewhere, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, can get access to the vital supplies they require,” said Virginia Crosbie MP.

“Local health resources are effectively planned by health trusts based on those who reside there permanently and they just cannot cope with large numbers of additional patients should they become ill.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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