FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford today announced tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in Wales and save lives.

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Caravan parks, campsites, tourist hotspots and popular beauty spots will be closed to visitors from today.

Local authorities are also enforcing the closure of pubs throughout Wales following reports some are flouting the shutdown introduced on Saturday. Licensed premises, which continue to trade will risk losing their licence.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Wales is a beautiful country and attracts millions of visitors every year – but now is not the time for unnecessary journeys. We want people to come to Wales when the threat of coronavirus has passed.

“Today, we are taking action to close caravan parks, campsites and some of our most recognisable visitor sites to keep people safe and to reduce the pressure on our NHS.

“My message is simple. Please stay at home and save lives.”

The tougher measures come amid mounting concern many people are not following government guidance about reducing contact with other people – large crowds were gathered at some of Wales’ busiest outdoor and tourist spots over the weekend.

People camping or staying in caravans on holiday will be asked to begin returning to their homes from today as camps and holiday parks close, unless there are exceptional reasons for them remaining.

These new measures will not affect those people who live permanently in park homes.

Emyr Williams, lead officer for the National Parks Wales, said: “We welcome this move. At this time is essential that people do not travel unnecessarily and overwhelm our rural areas.

“Following this announcement we will be closing access to key hotspots such as Snowdon, and I know my colleagues in the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks are taking similar action, for example closing routes to both Sugar Loaf and Pen-y-Fan.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton said: “It’s important people continue to stay active but please do this close to home.

“We need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus – that means not traveling unless absolutely necessary and avoiding close contact with other people by staying two metres away.

“Everyone should also continue to wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water.”

Emergency regulations shutting bars, pubs and restaurants came into force in Wales on Saturday to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But there have been reports of some pubs continuing to open as usual despite the country-wide restrictions. Local authorities will enforce the regulations and licensees could lose their licence if caught flouting the ban.

Councillor Andrew Morgan leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, said: “We are in the grips of an unprecedented public health pandemic, with the number of fatalities tragically growing by the day.

“Although the vast majority of businesses have been complying with government measures, we are very disappointingly having to investigate an irresponsible minority of pubs and restaurants who have chosen to flout expert public health advice and legal orders.

“The spread of the coronavirus is a severe threat to all of us. My fellow council leaders and I are absolutely clear – our utmost priority is to protect our residents, especially in the face of this deadly virus.

“Wherever we find premises flouting government measures, we are prepared to use all enforcement powers available to us to shield the public from harm.”

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