Scottish and Welsh residents urged not to cross UK border to NYE

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement that there will be no new COVID-19 measures introduced in England until January, residents of Wales and Scotland are urged by government officials not to cross the English border to see the New Year.

At present, England is the only country in the UK that allows nightclubs to remain open as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads.

Before Christmas, Wales reintroduced its rule of six to pubs, cinemas and restaurants, which were also limited to table service for just three weeks. Large events were also banned, with no more than 30 people allowed at an indoor event and 50 at an outdoor event. The Welsh government has also closed nightclubs and ordered pubs to impose a social distancing of 1 meter.

And on Boxing Day, Scotland placed a limit on the size of public events, including its traditional Hogmanay celebrations. Indoor events are currently limited to 100 standing or 200 seated guests, while only 500 will be allowed at outdoor events. Nightclubs were also forced to close from December 27, while pubs and bars returned to table service only.

With no travel ban between countries, some people expect an ‘invasion’ of Scottish and Welsh revelers with reports that hotels in English border towns like Chester, Bristol, Carlisle and Newcastle are already full on New Years Eve.

Speaking on BBC breakfastScottish Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney said crossing the English border would go against the “spirit” of the restrictions and would “discourage” anyone from doing so.

“I think this is not the right way for people to take because we have a serious situation that we have to deal with and we encourage everyone to play their part to fix it,” he said.

He added, “People are free to make their own judgments. But what we need to recognize is that Omicron is a serious threat to absolutely everyone in our company and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves by limiting our social contacts and connections and respecting the restrictions. that we have in place.

Nick Newman, President of the Cardiff Licensees Forum, said The Guardian the likelihood of a great exodus of revelers from Wales to England.

“It’s 40 minutes from Newport to Bristol and it’s easy to get from North Wales to Manchester or Liverpool,” he said. “English companies will benefit from it.

“We are extremely disappointed with the position of the Welsh government, in particular in failing to present the evidence which links the virus to the hospitality industry.”

University of Brighton virologist Dr Sarah Pitt said opposing measures across countries made no sense and likely wouldn’t stop the virus from spreading.

“If people can’t go to a New Years party in Wales or Scotland, they will just shift the borders to England, right, potentially taking the virus and spreading it… then bringing it home, “Pitt said LBC.

“So it makes sense to have a package of measures across the country, and I think it makes sense to have measures to try to stop the spread of the virus at this point.”

XOYO in London CREDIT: Ollie Millington / Getty Images

The lack of new restrictions in England follows pressure from the hospitality industry to let venues and nightclubs stay open on New Years Eve, with Michael Kill, managing director of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) writing an open letter to Johnson, urging him not to shut down the industry during the generally busy night.

“Let’s not end this year like we did last. End the uncertainty and let us dance on New Years Eve, ”said the letter, which you can read in full here.

Kill then praised the move and said, “Our industry can now begin to plan with some certainty over the next week and make up for lost time promoting one of the key nights of the year in the next week. the next few days, “but also called for a long-term plan. “It is clear that the open and close strategy, which has had a huge impact on our industry, is not sustainable.”

He also warned that revelers in Wales and Scotland could be tempted to attend crowds or illegal raves in their own country. “People will push the boundaries and be safer in regulated environments with safeguards in place,” he added.

It comes as concert halls and nightclubs found themselves “on the verge of collapse” as the spread of the Omicron variant decimated the hospitality industry in December.

A £ 1billion support package was announced in response, but was called ‘unnecessary’ and ‘bonkers’ by struggling concert venues and clubs, while the Music Venue Trust said that it was a “woefully inadequate response to the reality of the post.”

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