Wales to decide whether to allow cross-border travel with England

The Welsh Government’s cabinet is meeting today to decide on the country’s new border rules,

The Welsh Government’s cabinet is meeting today to decide on the country’s new border rules, as England emerges from lockdown.

England’s lockdown ended at midnight and travel restrictions have been lifted on anyone living in Tiers 1 or Two – this means holidays in England (barring Tier 3 areas) are back on the cards for English residents, so long as people follow social distancing rules.

The Welsh Government originally said it would update its travel policy in light of the changes in England. However, no announcement was made on this matter on Monday, as initially expected, and Welsh tourism businesses have spoken out against the lack of clear instructions on whether they should cancel or confirm bookings from English customers. 

As it stands, only people who live in Wales can stay overnight at a hotel or other accommodation. People travelling to Wales from elsewhere in the UK, or from abroad, must have a reasonable excuse to enter and remain in Wales, which does not include a holiday. Visit Wales states that Welsh residents are only allowed to share holiday accommodation (whether hotels, tents, caravans or self-catering options) with the people they live with.

Some hotels in Wales are already closing their doors due to a lack of clarity on whether they will be able to allow English holidaymakers to visit, or not, in December.

Pale Hall Hotel, near Bala, has closed its doors until December 17 and has spoken out against the ambiguous measures.

They said on Twitter: “Friday we get an announcement about an announcement, then Monday we are told that they will announce travel restrictions later this week. 

“If I ran my business or my school when I was a headteacher like this I would go bust and be sacked.”

On Monday, the Welsh Government announced a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and pubs, and for all hospitality businesses to close at 6pm, causing uproar among publicans.

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, revealed on Monday that hospitality venues including bars and cafés would have to switch to takeaway services after 6pm.

The blanket restrictions are less draconian than those imposed on Tier 3 areas of England but more restrictive than the rules for Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas, which account for more than half the population.  It comes just three weeks after Wales ended its 17-day “firebreak” lockdown, with the Welsh government arguing that further restrictions were necessary amid a spike in cases among those aged under 25. 

The new regulations, which come into force on December 4, will also require cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues forced to shut their doors until the rules are reviewed on December 17.