Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has called on the Welsh Government’s Economy Minister to demonstrate to concerned tourism businesses in Conwy and Denbighshire that the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the two areas last Thursday are proportionate.
Under the new restrictions which came into force at 6pm on October 1st, Conwy and Denbighshire have been closed to visitors from outside the local authority.
This has obviously caused grave concern among the tourism industry and Darren has been inundated with emails and calls from businesses who are questioning whether the new restrictions are necessary.
In the Welsh Parliament this week, he therefore urged the Economy Minister to produce the evidence to demonstrate that they are:
“Conwy and Denbighshire have a very vibrant tourism economy which supports many thousands of jobs and livelihoods but businesses there have been losing out this year.
“They lost out on the Easter season because of the lockdown earlier in the pandemic; the summer season started later than in any other part of the United Kingdom because of the Welsh Government continuing to require businesses to remain closed; andthey now face the prospect, because of the local coronavirus restrictions, of not being able to receive any people travelling into Conwy and Denbighshire because of the travel restrictions that have been put in place.
“Many local employers are now very, very concerned about the viability of their businesses. They say that livelihoods will almost certainly be lost as a result of the current restrictions, and they do not feel that sufficient evidence has been published to demonstrate that the travel restrictions are proportionate.
“What work are you doing to ensure that your Cabinet colleagues produce all of the information necessary so that tourism business owners and those who are employed by them can properly test whether your measures are actually proportionate?
The Minister assured Darren that the measures are proportionate, stating “they're designed to ensure that the period in which restrictions apply is minimised, taking action early, limiting the amount of time that we have to apply those restrictions”, and referred to the support available to tourism businesses.
Speaking afterwards Darren added:
“Whilst I appreciate that some support is available, it does not compensate for the huge losses that these businesses have had to bear this year. They have already missed out on Easter, Whit half term and part of the Summer season and were hoping to recoup some of their losses over the October half-term, but these latest restrictions have put paid to that and sadly many fear they will not survive this latest set-back.
“Of course, it is vital that we protect people’s health, but in doing so we must do what is necessary to support the North Wales economy too.”