Posted: Sat 9th May 2020

Decision to reopen garden centres described as “contradictory” by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, May 9th, 2020

The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has described the decision to reopen garden centres during the coronavirus lockdown as “contradictory”.

The Welsh Government yesterday announced it would largely be sticking to the stay at home advice which has been at the forefront of public messaging throughout the crisis.

However, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford also said he had decided to ease some restrictions, including allowing garden centres to open from Monday subject to social distancing measures being put in place.

The logic of the move has now been questioned by North Wales PCC Arfon Jones, who otherwise welcomed the extension of the lockdown period.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales this morning, he said: “I was always under the impression that if you were going to travel, you had to have a reasonable excuse to do so.

“It does seem a bit contradictory – is it essential to go to a garden centre?

“If they’re opening them then I would hope that when the Welsh Government issue guidelines they will explain it to us.”

Mr Jones, a retired police inspector, had expressed concerns earlier in the week after some UK newspapers reported that England could be set to ease the restrictions to a greater extent.

But he said he was mostly satisfied with the announcement by Mr Drakeford and believed any fresh guidance issued by Prime Minister Boris Johnson would broadly follow suit.

He said: “The announcement made is pretty moderate and I don’t anticipate a great deal of difficulty in enforcing the regulations around essential travel.

“It was a bit worrying a few days before with all the leaks to the mainstream press saying that there’s going to be a big change.

“But I don’t anticipate Boris Johnson’s tomorrow is going to be vastly different to the leaders of the devolved nations because they’ve had conversations over the last few days.”

Mr Jones also took the opportunity to thank the majority of people in North Wales for sticking to the rules.

While he acknowledged there had been an increase in traffic on the region’s roads, he said he believed most were travelling with good cause.

He said: “We have seen an increase in traffic on the roads, but I think there’s more workplaces opening within the workplace regulations.

“There’s quite a lot of people legitimately out who have been stopped and they were quite happy to explain.

“The public in North Wales are very supportive of the actions we’ve been taking to be honest.”

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