PEOPLE in Wales can legally travel into Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas of England where pubs, bars and restaurants remain open and are serving alcohol, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.

“The law would not require people in Wales not to travel to a Level 2, or Tier 2, area outside Wales,” Mr Drakeford said.

“The advice of the Welsh Government, the clear unambiguous advice to people, is not to do it because to do it is to add to the risks that we are already facing and those risks are already driving coronavirus rates rapidly upwards in Wales.

“So, please, don’t do it. It is not good for you. It is not good for anybody you know, it is not good for the rest of the population of Wales.

“I think there is a very big difference myself in the idea of people getting in their cars, travelling long distances to do that rather than simply being able to take advantage of hospitality open on your doorstep.

“So, that’s the position. Legally, it’s not preventable but in every other way, it’s not to be advised.”

There will need to be a “sustained fall” in coronavirus cases across Wales before restrictions on hospitality are eased, Mr Drakeford said.

The number of infections would need to “come more into line” with levels used to determine Tier 2 in England and Level 2 in Scotland.

“If that were to be the case then the flow of people into our hospital system – and the pressures that are currently being created there – would be being mitigated,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Those are the sorts of things that we would need to see before we will be in a position to do anything to lessen the restrictions that we have to have in place in Wales in order to bring the virus under control, to see the number of people who are dying from it decline, and to allow our health service the room it needs to deal not just with coronavirus but with all the other things that we rely on it to respond to in our lives.”

The First Minister defended the Welsh Government’s ban on pubs, restaurants and cafes serving alcohol.

“I take the decisions that I do because I know that they are the right decisions and that they will save lives here in Wales."

“Even when the decisions are difficult, so long as I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I am doing what I believe – with all the evidence that we draw on and the advice that we get – that I am doing and this government is doing the right thing.

“That is what has to matter to me, not whether it is in a temporary way unpopular or that other people might take a different view.”

Mr Drakeford warned the rules were not likely to be lifted when they are reviewed on December 17.

There have been a further 1,471 cases of coronavirus in Wales today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 85,432.

Public Health Wales reported another 33 deaths, taking the total in Wales since the start of the pandemic to 2,671.