The “utter confusion” around the easing of lockdown restrictions has been slammed by a police boss who warned it could lead to a new influx of visitors to North Wales.
According to Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that people in England will now be allowed to travel outside their local area to take exercise had created a “total shambles”.
He fears that people from across the border will now be encouraged to head to the regions mountains and coast.
The new guidance from Mr Johnson was contrary to regulations in Wales.
Although people here can now go out more than once a day to take exercise, they can only do so in the vicinity of their own homes.
Mr Jones stressed that the message from North Wales Police remained the same and they would still be stopping cars and fining people who did not have a good reason to be out on the region’s roads.
But, he said, the confusion would make it much more difficult to enforce the regulations here during the three-week extension to the overall lockdown.
people from England…need to specify the travel for leisure and exercise in Wales is still non-essential and they still commit and offence by doing what is legal in England.We need further guidance from Westminster and Cardiff.
Mr Jones said: “It’s going to be difficult to differentiate between people who live in North Wales and those who travel over the border. It’s a total shambles.
“People from England can come here to have a picnic, go for a swim in the sea and our national parks where they can sunbathe all day or go for a walk.
“We need to specify the travel for leisure and exercise in Wales is still non-essential and they still commit and offence by doing what is legal in England. We need further guidance from Westminster and Cardiff.
“Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to get the message to people in England that the situation here hasn’t changed – and that they are still going to be stopped and still going to be fined if needs be if they have broken the law.
“I have real concerns about the number of people who will be tempted to head to North Wales, particularly as there is no restriction in England on how far people can travel in their cars to take exercise.
“The danger is that people will be travelling to places like Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula from cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham because they will believe they have been given the green light to do so.
“It’s made our work here in Wales so much harder and it is so unnecessary.”
Mr Jones was also concerned by the decision to allow garden centres to open again which appeared “contradictory”.
Calling for an explanation from the Welsh Government, he added: “The fact that garden centres are being allowed to open does muddy the picture a bit.
“I was always under the impression that if you were going to travel, you had to have a reasonable excuse to do so.
“This does seem a bit contradictory – is it essential to go to a garden centre? And should people go to their nearest garden centre or will they be allowed to travel farther afield?
“When they come to issue guidelines, I would hope the Welsh Government will explain that to us.”