'Do not drive to Wales': MP tells English to stay away as UK coronavirus lockdown rules diverge

Matilda Long
·4-min read
In this grab taken from video issued by Downing Street on Sunday, May 10, 2020, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers an address on lifting the country's lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Downing Street via AP)
Boris Johnson has delivered an address on lifting the country's lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Downing Street via AP)

A Welsh MP has told English people to stay away after Boris Johnson made a speech easing some coronavirus lockdown rules in England.

Johnson addressed the nation spelling out his “roadmap” for easing the coronavirus lockdown.

The PM insisted there is no immediate plan to end the lockdown rules and that strict social distancing must stay in place, but outlined a number of alterations to the regulations.

For the first time during the UK outbreak, there are differences in the lockdown rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Johnson said that people are now allowed to drive to parks or beaches with members of their own household.

Welsh Labour MP tweeted soon after to tell English people not to drive to Wales after the change in policy.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon also distanced herself from the PM’s announcements.

She said it is “incumbent” on him to clarify that his easing of coronavirus restrictions only applies to England.

She said: “It’s just a statement of fact and of the law, that with the exception of Boris Johnson’s comments about border control, pretty much everything he said in his statement applied to England.”

It comes after the leaders of the devolved nations rejected Johnson’s new “stay alert” advice in favour of keeping the “stay at home” message.

This image issued by Downing Street on Sunday, May 10, 2020, shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new "stay alert" slogan to tackle coronavirus. The British government has replaced its “stay at home” coronavirus slogan with a new “stay alert” message that met criticism ahead of a speech by the Prime Minister laying out stages for lifting the country’s lockdown. (Downing Street via AP)
Downing Street has issued an image of Boris Johnson's new "stay alert" slogan to tackle coronavirus. (Downing Street via AP)

Following the prime minister’s address there are now some differences in the lockdown across the UK.

Exercising outdoors

Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday that the cap on daily exercise has been scrapped, and Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford lifted the limit at the weekend.

Johnson said people in England would be permitted “unlimited exercise” from Wednesday.

People exercise in St James Park in London, Sunday, May 10, 2020 during the nation-wide coronavirus lockdown. Personal exercise while observing social distancing measures is allowed under government lockdown guidelines. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
People exercise in St James Park in London during the coronavirus lockdown. The daily limit on outdoor exercise will be lifted in England on Wednesday and has already been lifted in Scotland and Wales. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

He also said it will be allowed to drive to other destinations and play sports but only with members of your own household.

The devolved nations have not allowed these changes.

Northern Ireland is due to announce “minor” adjustments to the lockdown next week.

First minister Arlene Foster has said there might be “nuanced changes” to be made to rules, giving the example of going out more for exercise in the open air.

Sunbathing

The prime minister said in his speech on Sunday that from Wednesday “you can sit in the sun in your local park”.

However Sturgeon warned that the lifting of the exercise limit in Scotland is not an excuse to meet up in groups at parks or beaches, to sunbathe or have picnics and barbecue.

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Going back to work

Johnson said that, from Monday, “anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work”.

Sturgeon on the other hand said at the weekend said she did not want additional businesses to re-open and workers to resume their roles.

Schools

The PM said he believes England may be in a position “to begin the phased reopening of shops” and get primary pupils back to school in steps staggered by year groups “at the earliest by 1 June”.

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said last week that schools in Wales would not be reopening at the beginning of June.

Scotland is yet to put a date on schools reopening.

Northern Irish education minister Peter Weird has indicated there will be a phased return for schools in September.

Tourism

Wales has already introduced stricter rules on hotels continuing to operate and the closure of holiday caravan sites, camping sites and certain public footpaths and land to deter large numbers of people who flocked to beauty spots in the early days of the lockdown.

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