Coach trip to Wales cancelled over virus fears
A summer coach trip from Telford to Llandudno has been called off after concerns about coronavirus safety, the availability of toilets and the possibility of infecting the locals.
St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council regularly holds a senior citizens’ outing to the North Wales seaside town in August.
Chairman Richard Overton said he thought social distancing would be possible on the journey and said, after months of lockdown and shielding for the pensioners, it would be a shame to “cancel something they look forward to”.
However, members voted by a majority to abandon this year’s day trip and redirect the funds to a planned November outing to Chester.
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Events officer Audrey Atkinson said the coach company had accepted it was an “exceptional circumstance” and agreed to waive the August trip. Councillors will decide whether to go ahead with the Chester trip in September.
Councillor Overton and Councillor Richards were the only members present at the remote meeting who voted against cancellation.
Councillor Richards asked: “Isn’t there something we can sensibly do about this, even to the point of doing a September trip?
“I think we’re saying ‘no’ on behalf of people we should be looking to help.”
Councillor Robert Cadman said: “There’s social distancing and shielding to consider, and also how many people want to do it and the welcome they’ll receive.
“The Chester trip, that we normally run, is normally not as well-funded. Perhaps we could shift some of the funding for Llandudno towards Chester?
Councillor David Wright agreed. “It just worries me that we recommend to pensioners that they go on a trip where they are containing themselves within a coach environment,” he said.
“We are encouraging people not to use public transport unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I think this gives a difficult message.”
Councillor Roy Williams said: “Another concern is: How many are we going to infect by going to places like this?”
Councillor Veronica Fletcher pointed out that, the relaxations to the lockdown rules, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, June 23 and due to come into force on Saturday, July 4, only applied to England.
Wales still has stricter rules, including a “stay local” recommendation that people stay within five miles of their homes, where possible.
“Also, at the present time, we don’t know that there are any toilet facilities anywhere en route or at the destination,” she said.
“Therefore, it would be a very difficult thing even to manage to get them there.”