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Staycations had been hailed as a perfect alternative to the uncertainty of travelling abroad amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But Britons hoping to take a well-deserved break in Wales have been warned their bookings could soon be cancelled after First Minister Mark Drakeford introduced stricter control measures on travel. BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt asked: “Maybe people traveling from outside of Wales in these areas you are concerned about have booked into holiday accommodations or hotels.
“Is the onus on those people who own those properties to notify the authorities if they think someone is coming from outside of Wales?”
Mr Drakeford noted Welsh hotel owners should not be accepting bookings from people travelling from England in the first place.
When Mr Stayt pointed out a booking may already exist, he said: “It may do but 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.”
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Mr Drakeford insisted he attempted to reach an agreement with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid having to impose a ban but had failed to win him over.
He continued: “I am genuinely baffled by the Prime Minister’s unwillingness to take an action which I think is very simple and straightforward and which would have reinforced the sense of acting together across the United Kingdom.
“I never wanted this to become an issue of the border and people travelling in and out of Wales. I always thought it an issue of high-incidence areas and low-incidence areas wherever they may be.
“The Prime Minister says to me he’s issued guidance but the problem with that is the police can’t take action on the basis of guidance.
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“They need to have the force of law behind them.”
The new travel restrictions are expected to affect tourists from England’s tier two and tier three areas as well as Scotland’s central belt and Northern Ireland.
The Government said the decision had been “disappointing” while the head of the Police Federation in Wales Mark Bleasdale warned such a ban would be “unenforceable.”
Mr Bleasdale said: “There will also be plenty of individuals travelling legitimately from areas which are not high risk, and this will only add to the other difficulties officers face when policing the existing regulations.”
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But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon voiced her support for Mr Drakeford’s decision as she confirmed she will be writing to Mr Johnson seeking urgent talks on a UK-wide restriction.
The Welsh Government already restricted travel to and from 17 local lockdown areas which cover a majority of the population, and some areas require a reasonable excuse.
But travel remains viable between areas subject to restrictions in England and parts of Wales currently exempt from any further containment measures like Pembrokeshire and Powys.
Mr Drakeford’s proposal would effectively ban travel from hotspots across England and any low-infection region in Wales.
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