Anger as Bolton tourists head to Tenby having been forced to leave locked down Porthcawl
Police have been asked to investigate a group of holidaymakers who have travelled from an area of England under tightened restrictions to the Pembrokeshire seaside town of Tenby.
The coach trip Bolton, in Greater Manchester, carrying 30 holidaymakers arrived in the seaside town of Porthcawl, Bridgend, on Monday.
But due to the cancellation of an event in the town, and the county of Bridgend being under tighter restrictions that prevent non-essential travel, the holidaymakers were turned away from their seafront hotel.
The bus is now expected to travel into Pembrokeshire, a county where coronavirus infection rates remain some of the lowest in Wales.
Bolton continues to have the highest number of new coronavirus infection rates, according to weekly figures for local authority areas in England.Dyfed Powys Police said there was nothing to stop the bus arriving into the county, according to Pembrokeshire County Council.
The group are due to stay at the Tenby sister hotel of their original hotel in Porthcawl, Seabank Hotel, where they had arranged to stay for four nights.
Bolton is at the centre of local lockdown in northern England with an infection rate of 196.5 cases per 100,000 - the highest in England at the start of September.
Even though there are restrictions in place there, the rules say residents from Bolton are allowed to go on holiday outside the area with people from their own household.
In Wales, the rules are more stringent and say people cannot travel in or out of an area "without good reason".
On Wednesday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said people in England should think "very carefully" before making non-essential journeys into Wales, but added the Welsh Government is not preventing people from going on holiday there.
It comes after people were asked to "avoid unnecessary travel" as he announced further measures being put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.
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In Pembrokeshire, the infection rate stands at just 5.6 cases per 100,000.
Public Health Wales figures showed there were two confirmed cases in the county on 23 September.The coach tour was run by Alfa Travel which is based in Chorley.
A spokesperson for the company said: "We carefully monitor government advice and under the current restrictions in place, residents are still able to travel out of Bolton for the purpose of taking a holiday."
"Again contrary to media reports, at no point were the customers travelling with the intention of attending the now cancelled Porthcawl Elvis festival.""Further to the announcement of restrictions in Bridgend, we have been in regular correspondence with the county council and are moving the guests out of the restricted area, as soon as is reasonably practical to do so, as agreed with the council."
"We have a duty of care to the wellbeing of our guests, as well as the residents of the local area to comply with the restrictions and have acted quickly to make sure we are complying with the ever-changing rules.""The hotel will remain closed from Wednesday until further notice."
One Pembrokeshire resident responded: "That's ludicrous. We've got a caravan in Amroth and aren't allowed to visit from the Rhondda, even though we'd be confined to a caravan and not in contact with anyone else."Another resident pointed out: "They can’t mix in their own town but can come to Wales and do what they want."
Pembrokeshire Council said it had referred the matter to the police.A spokesman said: "There are no restrictions to stop people leaving Bolton to go on holiday other than they should be doing so with people with whom they live (or in a ‘bubble’ with)."There were no current restrictions on the busload of persons leaving Porthcawl either at the time and nothing to stop them from being in Tenby."He added the council's enforcement team would be monitoring premises in Tenby to make sure they were complying with the current regulations.A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We cannot comment on individual cases or on whether or not English regulations enable people to travel beyond areas subject to local restrictions."“We want to do everything we can to keep Wales safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
“The approach we have taken when introducing local restrictions has been to prevent the spread of the virus out of those areas.
"As a result, people living in parts of Wales where local restrictions are in place need a 'reasonable excuse' to enter or leave their local authority area.”