Posted: Wed 13th May 2020

People in England can now travel any distance they want to exercise but UK Government advice still fails to mention Wales is out of bounds

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

From today people in England can now drive to the countryside, beaches and beauty spots to take exercise irrespective of the distance.

Updated advice published by UK Government today states: “There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside, it also says you can “drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance.”

Despite calls for the messaging to be clearer, the UK government hasn’t included the caveat that those popping over the border into Wales or Scotland on a day trip or without a reasonable excuse face different lockdown rules and a potential fine for breaking them.

The relaxing of some lockdown restrictions for people in England was announced by PM Boris Johnson Sunday.

In Wales the message remains the same  ‘stay at home to saves lives’ and people from outside Wales are still not be permitted to cross the border to exercise.

The differences in the lockdown messaging between England and Wales is now a cause for concern, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has said.

“There has been lots of focus over the weekend about the differences in the way in which the regulations are being updated in Wales, and in other parts of the United Kingdom.

There are some differences in the messaging between England and Wales which I am concerned may cause confusion.

We have concerns traffic flow into Wales could continue to increase as a result of the Prime Minister’s announcement that travel to exercise will be allowed in England.” Mr Drakeford said.

During a press briefing yesterday Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Closing the border is not a real option, it may generate headlines and clicks but it doesn’t actually help us at all. 

We would have to erect border controls, I’m not sure we have the power to do that and actually, what really matters is policing and enforcing the laws, the regulations, and the guidance we have here in Wales.”

As part of the easing of lockdown measures, people in England can now go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise “provided that social distancing guidelines are observed”

They can also take part in all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft are allowed. 

They still can’t visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home.

The easing of the lockdown in England has been described as a “total shambles” by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.

Arfon Jones is particularly concerned that Boris Johnson has created “utter confusion” over his lockdown easing plans in England.

He said: “What Mr Johnson did not explain was that this only applied in England and that the travel restrictions remain in place in Wales.”

He has now called for the tripling of fines for people who break the coronavirus travel restrictions – ranging from £1,000 to £3,000 for repeat offenders.

Mr Jones said: “It is important that the police continue with the current approach of engaging, educating and encouraging people to comply with the law in Wales.

But for those who do not listen, we need to continue to enforce the law so we’re calling for fines to start from £1,000 rising to £3,000 for repeat offenders.”

Travelling to Wales for leisure and exercise is still classified as non-essential travel and increasing the fines, in line with the increase in England,  would be good way of driving this message home.”

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