Posted: Fri 10th Apr 2020

Call for £1,000 fines for flouting non-essential travel crackdown

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Apr 10th, 2020

A £1,000 fine for those choosing to ignore a non-essential travel ban would be a “real deterrent”, it has been claimed.
With the Easter weekend prompting further urging on visitors to stay away from north Wales, the leader of Plaid Cymru claims that more hefty fines could  persuade more to stay away and limit the spread of Covid-19.

Police in England currently have the power to arrest and/or fine people up to £960 for repeatedly breaking coronavirus crackdown guidelines.

But, while Welsh police forces have similar powers of arrest, the fining guidelines differ from England and have a much lower cap, whereas the fixed penalty notices for the third and subsequent incidents double each time over the border.

Expressing concern that people would be tempted to travel to “second homes, a holiday let, or for a day out” during the Easter weekend, Plaid leader Adam Price is calling for those who disrespect the non-essential travel ban to face higher fines of £1,000,  in the hope they would prove to be a deterrent.

Mr Price added that, while the vast majority were respecting the non-essential travel ban, the message that this was “a national emergency and not a national holiday” was not being heeded by everyone.
“As this Easter weekend promises to bring with it good weather, many will be tempted to travel to second homes, a holiday let, or for a day out,” he said.
“Those who don’t respect the non-essential travel ban should face fines of £1,000 – a level which can prove to be a real deterrent.
“National parks are closed, travelling to second homes is forbidden and tourist attractions aren’t open.
“I know many will feel ‘hiraeth’ – a longing for Wales – and whilst Wales will always love its visitors, we ask you to please show your love for Wales by visiting later.
“Stay home, protect our NHS and public services – and save lives.”

Earlier yesterday, Chief Constable Carl Foulkes confirmed that North Wales Police patrols would remain out all weekend to establish the nature of people’s visits to the region.

“We all want to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, but we need everyone to play their part in making this happen,” he said.
“Our police officers will be out patrolling across the Easter period, both on our roads and in our busy communities, both engaging and spreading that message with the public.

“However, where people do not comply, then we will direct people to go home, and, if necessary, we will issue a fine.”

The Welsh Government, meanwhile, has published new guidelines for the operators of holiday accommodation businesses, stressing they should already be closed and must remain closed until further notice.

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, added that it is an offence for accommodation owners not to comply with these regulations and for anyone to obstruct accommodation owners from carrying out their duties.

Lord Elis-Thomas, the AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, went on to say:  “This is an incredibly difficult time for the tourism industry, however accommodation businesses should already be closed and remain closed until further notice.

“I’d like to thank the industry for their cooperation during this extraordinary time. And, as the tourism industry must close its doors for the time being – this extreme measure needs to be respected by all.

“Please do not travel at this time, and stay safe at your primary home.

“Travelling for leisure purposes is not allowed. All holiday accommodations and attractions in Wales are closed to visitors.

“The message is clear – stay at home to save lives.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter



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