Posted: Mon 6th Jul 2020

Stay Local restriction and five-mile guidance ends today – First Minister asks people to visit Wales safely

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jul 6th, 2020

From today people can now travel in Wales and into Wales without any restrictions.

The ‘stay local’ rule and advice asking people not to travel more than five-miles ends today.

At the start of lockdown on March 23, people in Wales were required to stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.

Those restrictions were eased slightly at the end of May allowing people more freedom to travel as long as they ‘“stay local”

Advice offered by the Welsh Government was to stay within five miles of home, but that bit wasn’t a legal requirement.

The Welsh Tories dubbed the five-mile advice the “cruel rule” and said it “unnecessary, undermined people’s mental health and personal relationships, and made the reopening of many businesses unviable.”

Flintshire council bosses said in June the “stay local” rule caused “confusion and impossible to enforce” especially when over the border in England had made “significant relaxations.”

Anyway, from today outdoor visitor attractions can now open, its a move which paves a way for the tourism sector to begin re-opening from 11 July.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people visiting the countryside, beaches and beauty spots to do so safely.

The Welsh Government has been working with local authorities, national parks, Natural Resources Wales and other landowners to ensure Wales’ wonderful outdoors are ready to welcome visitors.

This includes new guidance about public toilets, focusing on hygiene, social distancing, signage and queuing.

Not all public toilets, however, will be safe to re-open so people are being advised to check in advance what facilities will be open.

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Also from today people from two separate households will be able to join together to form one exclusive extended household.

Creating a single extended household will enable families to be reunited and will also help support working parents with informal childcare over the summer months.

But to help control the spread of coronavirus, only one exclusive extended household can be formed.

Once a household decides which other household it wants to join with, this arrangement will be fixed for the foreseeable future.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

We live in such a beautiful part of the world and I know many of us are looking forward to visiting beaches, the countryside and our many beauty spots.

People throughout Wales have done so much over the last few months to follow the rules and help reduce the spread of coronavirus – I thank them for their patience and understanding. I ask them to continue in this spirit.

Unfortunately, over the recent weeks we’ve seen the results of people not treating parts of Wales with respect, with crowds leaving piles of litter in their wake. This selfish behaviour is a blight on our beauty spots and puts people at risk.

While many footpaths and car parks are re-opening, not all facilities will be available in every location straight away. Please, check websites where possible and plan your visit. If your planned destination is too busy when you arrive, have a plan B ready and try an alternative car park or destination.

Coronavirus has not gone away and, while the evidence shows the risk outdoors is lower, there is still a risk. We therefore need to continue to act responsibly. Be kind to local residents and to fellow visitors by parking considerately, leaving nothing behind and following the recently revised Countryside Code.

Shadow Minister for Covid-19 Recovery, Darren Millar MS, said:

People across Wales have given up significant freedoms during the course of the coronavirus pandemic but today they are getting an important one back. 

The Welsh Government was wrong to impose an arbitrary five-mile travel restriction on its citizens. Such a limit was unnecessary, undermined people’s mental health and personal relationships, and made the reopening of many businesses unviable. 

I’m glad that the First Minister has finally caved in to our pressure and that these travel restrictions are now being lifted. 

The scrapping of this cruel rule can’t come too soon for those who will finally be able to see their loved ones for the first time in months, and for those who can finally reopen their businesses and get our economy moving again.

The countryside code has also been revised in light of the coronavirus pandemic and visitors to the countryside are now asked to:

Respect other people
  • Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
  • Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow
Protect the natural environment
  • Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
  • Be careful with barbecues and don’t light fires
  • Keep dogs under effective control
  • Dog poo – bag it and bin it, or take it with you
Enjoy the outdoors
  • Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
  • Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures

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