PEOPLE in Wales will be putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus if they travel to England to visit beer gardens next month, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

The Welsh Labour leader said people should “think very carefully” before going into England for a pint when hospitality businesses reopen for outdoor service from April 12, two weeks before Welsh businesses can do the same.While Herefordshire was in Tier 1 of coronavirus restrictions before Christmas, police arrested a man from Wales who crashed his car after travelling to go to the pub.

West Mercia Police also said that landlords turned away hundreds of people from outside the county who were trying to drink in the Tier 1 pubs.

The rules meant that Herefordshire was one of only four areas in the country where alcohol could be served without a "substantial meal."


Mr Drakeford was speaking on Thursday after announcing new dates for Wales’ roadmap out of lockdown, including lifting travel rules on April 12, reopening outdoor hospitality from April 26, and reopening gyms on May 10.

He told the PA news agency that rates of Covid-19 in Wales are the lowest in the United Kingdom and that any unnecessary trips over the border to visit a pub, cafe, or restaurant put people at risk of picking up the virus.

Hereford Times: First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has told people not to cross the border for a pint. Picture: PA WireFirst Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has told people not to cross the border for a pint. Picture: PA Wire

Mr Drakeford said: “[Covid rates] are higher in England and the highest in the north-west of England.

“You would definitely be visiting somewhere where the risks were higher. We know there is a variant of this virus in Bristol, which so far we’ve managed to keep out of Wales completely.

“My message to people thinking about travelling across the border, in that couple of weeks before things are opening in Wales, is to think very carefully about it.

“You really will not have long to wait before you’re able to enjoy exactly the same sorts of things in Wales where the current state of the virus is more benign.”


Mr Drakeford said he considered bringing forward the reopening of outdoor hospitality in line with England’s date, but was warned by scientific and medical advisers that doing so risked a rise in transmissions.

“The advice was clear cut. The risks of doing so outweighed any rewards because we are opening such a lot of things on April 12 in Wales already,” he said.

“The advice was we really did need to wait two weeks to see whether those actions were having the effect of driving the virus numbers up again.”