Coronavirus: No decision on Wales’ overseas travel restrictions


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No decision has been made on whether Wales will follow England and ease restrictions on non-essential overseas travel, the Welsh Government has said.

From 6 July people in England can travel to some European countries without having to spend 14 days in quarantine on their return.

Tourism in Wales is not due to re-open until the following week on 13 July.

The UK government is responsible for border controls, but health and the response to the pandemic is devolved.

This means any quarantine measures would need to be approved by the Welsh Government.

The UK Foreign Office advice against all but essential international travel has been in place since 17 March.

But under its new rules, a traffic light system will be introduced – with countries classified as green, amber or red depending on the prevalence of coronavirus. The UK is likely to discuss arrangements with countries over the coming days.

‘Absurd’

Sarah Astley, who runs a touring caravan site on Anglesey, said it would be “unfair” if people could travel to the continent and not travel within Wales.

She said: “It seems very unfair that touring caravan sites here in Wales are to remain closed but after 6 July you would be able to take your caravan and travel across the Chanel to France, Spain or Greece to have a lovely holiday.”

Andrew Campbell from the Wales Tourism Alliance said he was surprised by the announcement and that “it seems rather absurd” that Welsh tourists may be able to travel abroad but not travel within Wales.

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The list of travel corridors with the UK is due to be published next week

But he said he backed the Welsh Government’s cautious approach to re-opening.

He said: “I was sitting in a Welsh Government meeting yesterday and we had no inkling that this was coming through.

“So clearly, there was a communication problem that the thinking in London isn’t coming down to Cardiff, which is a shame.”

He added: “Some businesses may be thinking we could re-open on 6 July but the industry is geared up for the 13th now.

“It’s being done in a considered way, we’ve got to have those safety protocols in place, we’ve got to make sure business is safe, we’ve got to make sure that communities are safe, staff are safe and visitors are safe. Safety is the key thing here.”

The Welsh Conservatives’ Russell George MS said the situation was “bizarre”.

“We in Wales find ourselves in the bizarre situation where from next month tourists could be able to depart from or arrive at Cardiff airport, but there is no published plan from the Welsh Government to allow people to stay at tourist venues, hotels or B&Bs in Wales.”

What are the current quarantine rules?

  • People arriving in the UK should drive their own car to their destination, where possible, and once there they must not use public transport or taxis
  • Arrivals must not go to work, school or public areas, or have visitors – except for essential support. They are also not allowed to go out to buy food, or other essentials, where they can rely on others
  • Those arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, while they face a £480 fine in Scotland. The maximum fine for repeat offenders in Scotland is £5,000

For more on the rules click here.

The Welsh Government has indicated it will not be changing its plans on re-opening tourism businesses.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “The Welsh Government continues to explore the UK government’s proposals for ‘air bridges’ and awaits confirmation of a four-nation ministerial meeting to discuss the issue further.”

He added: “The coronavirus lockdown measures in Wales are in place to help limit the spread of the virus.

“Ministers review all the restrictions in place at each review period and then decide what, if anything, can be changed.

“Changes will only be made when it is safe to do so. Our focus is on helping to save lives.”

At the last review on 19 June, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced a package of measures to further ease restrictions in Wales which included lifting the requirement to stay local from 6 July.

He also signalled the visitor and tourism industry should use the next three weeks to make preparations for reopening.



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