Wales half-term holidays at risk as families cancel bookings due to imminent travel ban
FAMILIES with holidays booked to Wales may find their trips cancelled this half term as the country is to ban anyone from high risk areas.
Currently, Liverpool and Lancashire are tier 3, meaning they are high risk, with Greater Manchester also at risk.
Tier 2 regions are also being banned from tonight at 6pm, which includes London – so families with trips planned could see their last holiday of the year over before it starts.
While the UK government advises against non-essential travel, there is no explicit travel ban.
First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed that a travel ban preventing people from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus from entering Wales will come into force.
In a statement, Mr Drakeford said the number of Covid-19 cases across Wales was growing, with the health services coming "under pressure".
"To keep Wales safe, the Welsh Government is therefore amending the regulations to make it clear that people living in areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be able to travel to parts of Wales where there is a low prevalence," Mr Drakeford said.
"It is vital that we keep communities which have low levels of infection as safe as possible and this sensible and necessary restriction will help prevent the virus moving from more urban, highly populated areas to more sparsely populated areas."
When asked about existing bookings, he told BBC Breakfast: "I'm afraid those bookings will no longer be able to be honoured.
"It's why we're taking this action now to give people a good period of time to understand that, if you did book a holiday in those parts of Wales, I'm afraid that holiday will now no longer be able to take place."
People are already unable to enter or leave areas of Wales subjected to local lockdown restrictions without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.
Which regions are in tier 3?
Tier Three has the most serious measures – including a closure of pubs and bars and a ban on overnight stays outside the home.
Non-essential travel is advised against, as well as travelling outside the area in which the restrictions have been imposed.
Liverpool City Region
- St Helens
- Ribble Valley
- South Ribble
- West Lancashire
- Blackburn Darwen
Andrew Evans, who owns a hotel in Pembrokeshire, told Telegraph Travel that his bookings had plummeted during half term due to the new restrictions.
He said: "We’ve gone from a projected occupancy for this month of 75 per cent down to 20 per cent and virtually to zero."
He also confirmed that they were contacting any guests who were coming from high risk areas to explain the rules in place.
Hotel owner William Griffiths also said his half term occupancy was just 15 per cent, when they normally saw levels closer to 70 per cent.
Visit Cornwall's Malcom Bell has also told hotels and holiday sites to cancel guest bookings if they come from high risk areas.
He told local media: "We are helping all accommodation providers with the details of the zones and informing them that they must decline booking and contact customers from these areas."
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also suggested she could impose similar measures within days.
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