First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in Wales and save lives.
Caravan parks, campsites, tourist hotspots and popular beauty spots will be closed to visitors from today.
Local authorities are also enforcing the closure of pubs throughout Wales following reports some are flouting the shutdown introduced on Saturday. Licensed premises which continue to trade will risk losing their licence.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Wales is a beautiful country and attracts millions of visitors every year – but now is not the time for unnecessary journeys. We want people to come to Wales when the threat of coronavirus has passed.
“Today, we are taking action to close caravan parks, campsites and some of our most recognisable visitor sites to keep people safe and to reduce the pressure on our NHS.
“My message is simple. Please stay at home and save lives.”
The tougher measures come amid mounting concern many people are not following government guidance about reducing contact with other people – large crowds were gathered at some of Wales’ busiest outdoor and tourist spots over the weekend.
People camping or staying in caravans on holiday will be asked to begin returning to their homes from today as camps and holiday parks close, unless there are exceptional reasons for them remaining.
These new measures will not affect those people who live permanently in park homes.
Emyr Williams, lead officer for the National Parks Wales, said:
“We welcome this move. At this time it is essential that people do not travel unnecessarily and overwhelm our rural areas.
“Following this announcement we will be closing access to key hotspots such as Snowdon, and I know my colleagues in the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks are taking similar action, for example closing routes to both Sugar Loaf and Pen-y-Fan.”
Director General of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, Ros Pritchard OBE commented:
“BH&HPA members have already closed their holiday and touring parks with great sadness, yet they are glad to contribute to the fight against the virus. They are grateful to Welsh Government for their support in this process and sensitivity to the individual circumstances of park customers. With this taken into account, BH&HPA wholeheartedly supports the Welsh Government directive to all parks across Wales.”
Huw Pendleton, Managing Director Celtic Holiday Parks; said:
“I am very pleased that the First Minister has taken the decision to close all holiday parks, it was no doubt a difficult decision, which he has made to protect everyone.
“Tourists are hugely important to the economy of Wales and as an industry we very much look forward to being able to reopen our parks and welcome people back to enjoy our beautiful country as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton said:
“It’s important people continue to stay active but please do this close to home.
“We need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus – that means not travelling unless absolutely necessary and avoiding close contact with other people by staying two metres away.
“Everyone should also continue to wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water.”
Emergency regulations shutting bars, pubs and restaurants came into force in Wales on Saturday to slow the spread of coronavirus.
But there have been reports of some pubs continuing to open as usual despite the country-wide restrictions. Local authorities will enforce the regulations and licensees could lose their licence if caught flouting the ban.
Councillor Andrew Morgan leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, said:
“We are in the grips of an unprecedented public health pandemic, with the number of fatalities tragically growing by the day.
“Although the vast majority of businesses have been complying with government measures, we are very disappointingly having to investigate an irresponsible minority of pubs and restaurants who have chosen to flout expert public health advice and legal orders.
“The spread of the coronavirus is a severe threat to all of us. My fellow council leaders and I are absolutely clear – our utmost priority is to protect our residents, especially in the face of this deadly virus.
“Wherever we find premises flouting government measures, we are prepared to use all enforcement powers available to us to shield the public from harm.”