Latest travel advice 'does not mean no holidays' in Wales, First Minister says

  • Watch as the First Minister explains the new measures

The First Minister has said the latest travel advice in Wales "does not mean no holidays", after asking people to avoid unnecessary travel to curb the spread of coronavirus.

He said that people in England should think "very carefully" before making non-essential journeys into Wales - but they are "not saying no" to holidays in the country for those who live in areas not subject to lockdown.

It comes after further measures were announced to help control the spread of Covid-19, including a ban on pubs, bars and restaurants serving alcohol after 10pm.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Mark Drakeford clarified the venues will not be required to close at that time.

He justified the 10pm drinking curfew - with supermarkets also being advised not to serve alcohol beyond that time - by explaining that those who go on to have house parties after leaving the pub "would be breaking the law".

Around 27% of the Welsh population are under local lockdown measures as the Welsh Government continues to try and tackle the virus' spike.

The overall rate is now 46.8 cases per 100,000 people in Wales.

Speaking ahead of new measures that come in to place in Wales on Thursday, Mr Drakeford said he hopes people will "think carefully" following the travel advice the government has put in place.

"The key guidance is for people to think carefully about what they are doing and to make sensible judgements of their own circumstances.

"It is not a message about not going shopping or not going to hospitality or going on holiday it is about thinking about the journeys they can make.

"It is a common sense piece of advice, the coronavirus regulations are not a game, it is not a matter about thinking how you can get round the rules it is about asking yourself what you can do."

There are no changes to the rules surrounding weddings - where currently 30 people can attend in Wales. In England, that number has been reduced to 15.

Mr Drakeford said, "If there is evidence then we will have to act. If there isn’t any evidence it is causing harm, it will point us in a different direction."

He also urged  people to adhere to the rules with a reminder that "it [coronavirus] does not have a cure or a vaccine – we cannot let it take a hold of our lives."

Credit: PA

Under new measures coming into force across Wales on Thursday, pubs, cafes, restaurants and casinos must operate as table service only and close at 10pm.

There is no strict travel guidelines in place across the country, but there are restrictions in place for some areas in local lockdown.

Whilst admitting that travel through the country from England would not be policed in a 'conventional sense'.

"It’s an appeal to people to think carefully about those journeys," Mr Drakeford continued.

“If they’re necessary you must make them. If they’re not necessary, please don’t travel unless you have to. That is the message here in Wales."

Snowdonia has seen a surge in holidaymakers visiting during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA Images

When asked if that meant that people should not travel across Wales for holidays, Mr Drakeford said that was not what the Welsh Government are saying.

"Well, it’s very possible to have a holiday in Wales without travelling very far at all," he said.

“People are going to make those decisions in their own circumstances so we’re not saying no holidays to people.”

On Tuesday, Public Health Wales said a further 281 positive cases of Covid-19 were recorded - the highest daily figure since April 17.

Of the new positive cases, 77 were in Rhondda Cynon Taf, 34 were in Bridgend, 30 in Cardiff, 28 in Swansea and 20 in Merthyr Tydfil.

No further deaths were reported on Tuesday, with the total in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,603.

Watch Wednesday's press conference in full: