Coronavirus: Warning over weekend travel from England to Wales

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Here are the key differences between lockdown rules in Wales and England

People have been warned not to breach coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Wales this weekend, including those thinking of travelling from England.

Rules have been relaxed in England so people can now "drive to other destinations" and meet one person outside their households outdoors.

But in Wales they cannot travel "a significant distance".

First Minister Mark Drakeford told those mulling a weekend trip to Wales "don't do it".

Rules in Wales mean travelling long distances are not allowed, with the rules in England also specifying that overnight stays away from home are not allowed.

Speaking at Friday's Welsh Government news conference, Mr Drakeford said: "I know many people in Wales are concerned about people travelling long distances from England, particularly in the light of the UK government's announcement last weekend.

"I understand their concern. Our rules here in Wales are clear, travel should only be local, and it should only be essential.

"Travelling a long way to visit beauty spots or second homes in Wales is neither of those things - so don't do it."

Image source, Wales news service
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People have been urged not to travel a significant distance to exercise

Police forces in Wales have the power to fine people for making non-essential journeys, including those from England into Wales, with a £60 penalty for lockdown breaches.

And Welsh police forces have expressed concerns over whether traffic into Wales could continue to increase as a result of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's easing of restrictions.

South Wales Police reminded people inside and outside Wales the regulations remain in place and they would be enforced.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Valentine said: "Travelling into Wales for exercise or without a reasonable excuse is not permitted, and I appeal for the support of people living in England."

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Gwent Police Deputy Chief Constable, Amanda Blakeman warned people breaking regulations they may ultimately face enforcement action

Gwent Police Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman warned anyone thinking of flouting the rules to they could face action.

"If you're travelling - either cycling, in the car or on a motorbike - then we've got patrols out, we're visible, we will be stopping you, we will be explaining to you what the situation is, we will be asking you to return home."

Dyfed-Powys Police said there would be no "specific targeting" of people travelling from across the border, although its patrols would continue.

On Friday, a letter by the All Wales Policing Group of chief constables and police and crime commissioners to the first minister said "there is growing evidence that adherence to the regulations is weakening in some areas".

"We should make it clear that we want to be balanced and proportionate in the use of fines, taking our local communities with us in the way that we enforce the rules, with the difference of messaging in England being a challenge which can be helped by a similarity of maximum fine levels".

On Thursday, the Welsh Government said it was not planning to change the fine system to increase penalties above £60 but it was keeping the matter "under consideration".

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At the start of the pandemic, some Welsh beauty spots saw "unprecedented" weekend crowds, prompting criticism from authorities.

Ahead of this weekend, Wales' three national park authorities issued a joint call for "all UK residents to respect the rules and measures in place in Wales".

"These measures in Wales mean that people cannot drive to exercise in Wales - no matter where they live," said Emyr Williams, chief executive of Snowdonia National Park.

"There will continue to be no parking or access to the most popular sites in the Welsh National Parks."

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority chief executive Tegryn Jones said the "message was clear" for people who did not live within walking distance of beauty spots.

"Do not visit Wales' national parks until the Welsh Government's guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel in Wales have been lifted," he added.

Image source, Snowdonia National Park
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National parks said they would be "making significant efforts" to ensure correct information reaches the public

And the coastguard told people coronavirus "hasn't gone away" and told them to "respect the coastline".

"Don't forget though, in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, nothing has changed. Give the coast a miss and stay home to save lives," they said in a statement.