Holiday hotspots to be closed in Wales

Tough new measures have been introduced in Wales to slow the spread of coronavirus.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said caravan parks, campsites, tourist favourites and popular beauty spots will be closed to visitors from Monday.

Local authorities are also enforcing the closure of pubs throughout Wales following reports some are flouting the shutdown introduced on Saturday and licensees could lose their licence.

Across the country, 16 people have died after contracting Covid-19 and a further 418 have tested positive for the virus.

Mr 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 rules come amid mounting concern many people are not following Government guidance about reducing contact with other people.

Other measures have seen local authorities across the country close parks and play areas.

Large crowds were gathered at some of Wales’s 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 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.

There have been calls for even tougher measures, with Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price saying self-isolators should be banned from travelling to Wales.

Emyr Williams, from 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.”

Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “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.”

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.

The holiday park industry has welcomed the announcement.

Huw Pendleton, managing director of Celtic Holiday Parks, said: “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.”