A return to the valleys and beaches of Wales is on the cards next month.
The Welsh borders may have been closed for the past couple of months, but as case numbers in the nation fall and the lockdown begins to ease, residents from the rest of the UK will be allowed back for a visit very soon. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has revealed that the country will look to lift their “stay local” restrictions on July 6, which would allow us to holiday in Wales from this date.
As the four devolved nations of the UK have had different regulations throughout the lockdown, travelling to Wales and Scotland has been forbidden for the past few months (the same goes for Northern Ireland, but obviously English residents weren’t in any danger of accidentally driving over that border). Both nations have plotted a more cautious route out of lockdown than England did; Welsh residents have been advised to travel only five miles from home, whereas English residents can currently travel as far as they like within the borders of the country, so long as they don’t stay overnight.
The cautious approach seems to have served Wales well, as the country now feels confident to allow overnight stays for UK residents in a little under three weeks, “provided the virus is still under control” by that stage, according to Drakeford. Visits will initially be constrained to “self-contained” accommodation: the likes of cottages, static caravans, and some hotels, where there’s little chance of multiple groups mingling. The First Minister said that any tourist businesses that can provide this accommodation should use the next few weeks to prepare to receive guests, with hospitality owners permitted to accept bookings from July 13 onwards.
Though the rest of us will need to wait until July 6 to explore Wales once more, Welsh residents will see more of a return to normality from Monday, as retailers will reopen with social distancing, outdoor non-contact sports can resume, and visits outside the local area on compassionate grounds will be permitted. In the meantime, the rest of us will no doubt be eyeing up charming cottages in the Brecon Beacons or gorgeous windswept cabins on the Pembrokeshire coast for a much-deserved break!