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People from areas under lockdown should not visit Ceredigion says councillor

PEOPLE from areas under local lockdown must not come to Ceredigion because “they have decided they must have a holiday” and put residents at risk.

Councillor Paul Hinge, from Tirymynach, Aberystwyth, highlighted problems over the last fortnight that holiday parks had reported to him about people from the Caerphilly area who have had their breaks cancelled and refunded, who then try to rebook with a different postcode.

He told members of the overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday (September 16) that there needed to be further work from other agencies, including government, when it came to opening up the holiday industry and local lockdowns.

“It’s a problem for us because they are told they can’t leave their area and they are, and they are coming to Ceredigion,” said Cllr Hinge, who added that there was also an issue with visitors to second homes during the UK lockdown period.

Local lockdowns are in place in areas including Caerphilly, Birmingham, Leicester, Greater Manchester with new restrictions to come into force in Rhondda Cynon Taf on Thursday, September 17, due to increases in coronavirus cases.

“These are issues that government must deal with because there’s a rule of law not being adhered to,” added Cllr Hinge.

He later told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The whole point of being in a lockdown area is to not come out of it because they are suspected of carrying the virus.

“These are areas people live in who want to come here for their holiday but the first issue is they are breaking the law and the second one is, in all honesty, they could create a spike. They could by asymptomatic but could carry the virus and we’re are not geared up to have masses of people catching the virus and needing hospitalisation.”

Cllr Hinge said that visitors were welcome to Ceredigion but “do it when it’s safe for themselves and for us here.”

“It’s the managing of the area to keep us in a position where we’re not having to go into lockdown ourselves,” he added, warning it was a minority of people but they could have a big impact.

He referred to the news that to date there had been 94 cases of Covid-19 in Ceredigion, adding “we don’t want other people to bring it here because of their fervent desire to visit Ceredigion.”

At the virtual meeting on Wednesday council chief executive, Eifion Evans agreed that there was an “increased flow of people” and the “landscape is changing on a daily basis.”

He acknowledged it was difficult for campsite and caravan parks to deal with and there had been examples of people providing false addresses, “we are trying to grapple with all of those,” added Mr Evans.

He said the authority would continue to lobby the Welsh Government to strengthen the guidance and for greater clarity on “what we can or can’t allow happening in our area.”

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