Parts of Wales have seen unprecedented levels of tourism this weekend, as thousands of people have deserted cities and flocked to West Wales.
Less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister issued tighter measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, Wales turned into a typical bank holiday weekend.
The leaders of Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire County Councils have consulted with leaders at; Hywel Dda University Health Board and MPs and AMs across the Hywel Dda region have prepared a joint statement.
“As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic progresses, it is crucial we all play our part in tackling this disease in what is an unprecedented challenge in modern times.
“In particular it is extremely important that everyone follows the advice from the Government to slow and stop the spread of this virus and that we all do everything we can to support our essential public services, especially our NHS.
“The Government has now urged the public to stay at home and limit all but essential travel and it cannot be stressed enough how vital this advice is.
“One major concern that we are starting to witness is an influx of tourists into West Wales and the consequences this may have in the coming weeks and especially the serious risk that there will be an overwhelming, unnecessary pressure on our services and supply chains.
“As strong supporters of the tourism and hospitality industry here in West Wales, we fully understand the huge and grave challenges facing the sector and why some businesses may want to take this opportunity to bring in visitors at this time.
“However, our absolute top priority is the need to stop spread of this virus and also to protect our NHS from the increased pressures that tourism brings at a time when they will be stretched to the absolute limit.
“In line with the official Government advice therefore and also in recognition of the interests of the resident population here in West Wales, it is with great regret that we are taking an unprecedented step and asking people not to come on holiday to Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire at this time.
“We are collectively exploring every avenue to support all businesses affected by this crisis but the overriding concern has to be to keep people safe and well.
“Please do not underestimate the risk this disease presents and we would urge you to take all the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe, and also help all those who live and work here in West Wales stay safe and well.
“We promise you that Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire will be just as amazing places once this is all over and we are looking forward to the day in the near future when we are once again welcoming everyone back.”
On Sunday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that ‘if people don’t follow this advice we will have no choice but to use powers to enforce it.’
“Self-isolation for those who have symptoms and social distancing by everyone is absolutely essential at this stage if we are to delay the spread of this virus and save lives.
“We all need to follow this advice now to protect each other and our families and to help ensure our NHS is not overwhelmed.
“Social distancing includes avoiding all but essential travel and if people don’t follow this advice we will have no choice but to use powers to enforce it.”