Lockdown confusion: The golf club in Shropshire AND Wales
Cross-border communities say they have been left in "total confusion" over changes to lockdown rules, with English people travelling to Wales for exercise now risking police fines – despite it being permitted in their country.
People will also be able to take part in some sports with members of their own household. That creates an interesting headache for Llanymynech Golf Club, where the different parts of the course are in England and Wales.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has loosened a number of restrictions on English residents in his announcement, but the move has put the country at odds with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have effectively continued with lockdown rules as they were, as well as the 'stay at home' message.
People in England can now exercise as much as they want every day, and are allowed to drive where they want to do so. They have also been told they should return to work where possible if they cannot work from home, and that they can now sit in the park with one other person from another household.
Schools in England could also start to re-open from June 1, with Mr Johnson saying the ambition was "to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6". He added: "Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays."
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In Wales, schools will currently remain closed, with no Welsh Government word on when they could reopen, exercise is limited to twice a day with no travelling to do so, and rules on meeting people in parks have not changed. Hundreds of English pupils currently live in Wales, and vice-versa, leading to demands for clarity over who goes back and when.
Powys county councillor Graham Breeze, who represents the Welshpool Llanerchyddol ward, said there were concerns that the change in English policy could lead to an influx of visitors from across the border.
The Welsh Government has said that those travelling to Wales for anything but essential travel will still face fixed penalty notices from the police.
Councillor Breeze said: "I think all Boris managed to do on Sunday night was confuse everyone and I think he is going to have to seriously look at it. You have got the same thing with Scotland and Northern Ireland and now everyone is in total confusion.
"I think we have taken the right role in Wales and the message here is still stay at home, and I do not know how, come the weekend, anyone will police that because people are still travelling from the Midlands to Mid Wales – there were cases at the weekend, and it will only increase confusion unless clear guidelines are put out as soon as possible."
Shropshire Councillor Heather Kidd's ward of Chirbury and Worthen sits on the border, with many residents working, or sending children to school in Wales.
She said there was confusion among people living in the area over what was now allowed, adding: "Chirbury School has 35 per cent of children who come across the border, they do not know whether they will be allowed to come cross border or not.
"There are still all sorts of issues and for many people in my division we drive in and out of Wales all the time, it is very confusing for them. In terms of work, my husband works in Welshpool, he is being encouraged to go back to work by the government but his employer is not under the same rules."
Councillor Kidd said people wanted guidance on the cross-border rules, saying: "It is a nightmare for us and can lead to easy misunderstandings. A unified approach from both countries would have been far better."
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