Posted: Wed 17th Jun 2020

Flintshire Council leaders write to Wales First Minister calling for lockdown measures to be lifted

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 17th, 2020

Flintshire Council Chief Executive Colin Everett and council leader Ian Roberts written to the First Minister of Wales calling for lockdown measures to be eased.

The co-signed letter – which is supported by all seven political groups which make- up the council – calls on the Welsh Government to ease a number of restrictions in a bid to restart the economy.

Thousands of shops across the border in England have re-opened their doors this week for the first time in almost three months.

People living in England are not bound by travel restrictions whilst in England, those living in Wales have been asked to “stay local” and not travel further than five miles.  

Ahead of an announcement of Friday on the possible easing of some  lockdown measures, first minister Mark Drakeford said there won’t be an immediate “return to the pre-pandemic normal.” 

Mr Drakeford did, however, indicate three areas he and ministers will look at during lockdown review this week, the re-opening of shops, the relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities and plans to re-open schools at the end on June.

In the letter sent to the first minister, the council says, “We urgently need to restart the retail and tourism sectors who are at great risk.”

“Alongside all other councils we are developing detailed plans for the safe re-opening of town centres, retail centres and retail clusters in partnership with town councils and local retailers in readiness for a re-opening.”

The council has appealed to Mr Drakeford to allow all non-essential retail to be allowed to reopen from Monday 22nd June.

The letter states: “With retail fully re-opening in England, the retail centres and sectors in North Wales will be at a significant disadvantage if they are not allowed to resume, and compete, shortly.

Some retailers will be lost if we delay as they will be in a weakened competitive trading position.”

The council also wants all open-air attractions, and open-space destination attractions to re-open from Monday 22nd June.

“The same rationale applies to open-air attractions.

If it is safe to re-open retailers such as garden centres then why would it not be safe to re-open open-air attractions where the operators are responsible and can demonstrate that they have a compliant operational safety plan in place?” The letter says.

Council bosses say the current the “stay local” five-mile rule is causing “confusion and impossible to enforce.”

The letter states: “The current travel guidance and regulations under the banner of ‘stay local’ are a barrier to the above.

They are also close to impossible to enforce for a border county where the neighbouring nation has already made significant relaxations.

Whilst public compliance with the restrictions has until now been of a high standard, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage public behaviour in a border county with the divergence in approach between the UK and Welsh Governments.

There is public confusion, and enforcement activity is diverting police and local authority resources from our core functions.”

“We are hopeful that you have already decided to make these relaxations on the intelligence we are receiving.

This letter is meant to provide comfort and support for that necessary decision.

We would appreciate an immediate response as time is pressing.”

Mark Drakeford will announce on Friday the outcome of the fourth lockdown review as he is required to do every 21 days under emergency regulations implemented in March.

You can read the letter here: [pdf-embedder url=”https://www.deeside.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/First-Minister-Relaxation-of-Covid-19-Emergency-Regulations-and-Guidance-1.pdf” title=”First Minister – Relaxation of Covid-19 Emergency Regulations and Guidance (1)”]

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