Traffic is still flowing freely across the border from England to Wales on the first day of the supposed travel ban from high-Covid areas.
The ban, which came into force at 6pm on Friday, makes it an offence to travel to Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK.
It was described as ‘unenforceable’ by the Police Federation earlier this week and there is still no sign of any high-visibility patrols or roadblocks to deter travel from Merseyside – despite Liverpool being in Tier 3.
Those who ignore the restrictions will be breaking the law and could face fixed penalty notices starting at £50 – but there have so far been no reports of drivers being stopped.
Traffic is still flowing freely across the border from England to Wales on the first day of the supposed travel ban from a high-Covid area (A55 pictured)
It was described as ‘unenforceable’ by the Police Federation earlier this week and there is still no sign of any high-visibility patrols to deter travel from Merseyside (A55 pictured)
The Welsh Government yesterday issued a tweet which read: ‘From 6pm today, if you live in an area of the UK with high levels of coronavirus, you won’t be able to travel to Wales without a reasonable excuse.
‘This includes tier 2 and 3 areas in England, the central belt of Scotland, and all of Northern Ireland.
‘Help us to #KeepWalesSafe.’
But Welsh traffic cameras today showed the main arteries across the border to Merseyside – namely the A55 and A494 – carrying free-flowing traffic.
The Welsh Government yesterday issued a tweet setting out the new restrictions but there have so far been no reports of drivers being stopped
As the restrictions came into force, police in Wales issued a warning insisting they would ‘robustly’ enforce the travel ban imposed by the Welsh Labour Government.
On behalf of the four Welsh police forces, temporary assistant chief constable Nigel Harrison of North Wales police said : ‘As we move into a critical stage of the virus progression, policing across Wales will continue to support the Welsh Government to help limit the spread of the virus.’
He added: ‘We are now at a time where we will robustly enforce the regulations where there are blatant breaches.
‘We will not allow the selfish minority to risk the health of the vast majority who have sacrificed so much over the last few months.
‘We intend to focus our activity on areas and behaviours that pose the greatest risk to our communities.
Welsh traffic cameras today showed the main arteries across the border – namely the A55 and A494 (pictured) – with free-flowing traffic
Police in Wales issued a warning insisting they would ‘robustly’ enforce the travel ban imposed by the Welsh Labour Government (A55 pictured with free-flowing traffic this morning)
‘We will be proactive in targeting those that are not sticking to the gathering rules, whether that be indoors or outdoors.
‘People should not be travelling between the areas facing local restrictions without defined reasonable excuses.
‘This will include those that travel from other parts of the UK with high transmission rates.’
Earlier this week the ban was derided as impractical and anti-English by critics.
The Police Federation of England and Wales said ‘policing in Wales is already over-stretched due to the pandemic’ and the new measures would add ‘yet another level of complexity to policing’.
Mark Bleasdale, Police Federation of England and Wales’ Welsh Lead, said: ‘On the face of it, this is unenforceable because of the difficulty of identifying where people are coming from and where they are going to.
‘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.’
There are currently 18 exemptions for crossing the border, published on the Welsh Government’s website.
It confirmed that people from areas with high levels of coronavirus will still be allowed to enter Wales for work, education and medical care.
Wales’s ban will also grant exemptions for people seeking food or medical supplies, items for essential home maintenance, moving home, and attending weddings or funerals.
Obtaining or depositing money with a business, accessing care for children or vulnerable adults, carrying out voluntary or charity work, and training as an elite athlete will also allow a person to cross into the country.
The Welsh Government and North Wales Police have been contacted for comment.