BBT Covid-19 Industry Update 12th May 2020

Brecon Beacons Tourism Industry Update 
12th May 2020
Wales remains in lockdown despite the latest changes for England.
Coronavirus: Lockdown remains for further 21 days (28th May), but 3 minor updates announced to legislation in Wales which may into force yesterday Monday 11th.The First Minister of Wales sets out position in Wales, after update from UK Government for England on Sunday. Watch herePlease note dispite the new update in England, Wales is still under lockdown conditions and the police will continue to monitor. All holiday accommodation, attractions and National Parks in Wales are still closed and remain so for the next 3 weeks. The advice is still to stay at home, protect the NHS and they are promoting not travel to Wales at this time.First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed yesterday, people living in Wales will be able to exercise outside more than once a day (Activity must continue to be undertaken from your home, with no travel to exercise.)  local authorities can start the process of opening libraries, recycling centres and garden centres set to re-open too (if social distancing measures are in place)

Mr Drakeford warned it was “too soon” to make any other changes the rest of the coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions will be extended for another three weeks.

The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with the other devolved governments over the weekend to ensure a 4 nation approach to a road map.
Read more here. 
UK Government update 10th May (for England)The Prime Minister gave an update last night which includes the first steps of a “Road Map” for how things might gradually re-open in England.

It is worth noting this update is only applicable to people and businesses in England, as the Welsh Government has made it clear that these rules to do apply to Wales, and the lock down period in Wales is in place until the 28th May.

The Prime Ministers update was laden with caution and caveats and he stressed the government’s plan over the next two months will be driven by the “science, data and public health” – not “hope or economic necessity”. The Prime Minster said the government would take further questions in parliament and the daily briefing tomorrow.

He spoke about 3 steps which could happen over the next 2 months – the government will not hesitate to put on the brakes if there are further outbreaks of the virus and the R level down.

The UK government has been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces safe – or “COVID-secure” and from next week, if able employees may start going back to work.Step 1: starting this week. Unlimited exercise in England, obeying the rules on social distancing – which includes the ability to drive to undertake exercise. (which is different to what we can do in Wales, we still need to exercise from home).Step 2: Shops and schools could re-open in June. This would be a phased approach with primary pupils firstStep 3: Some hospitality sector and other public spaces could re-open early July.New message:  to stay alert, control the virus and to save lives.
Welsh National Park Authorities issue clear message to respect Welsh Government Guidance
Wales’ three National Park Authorities have welcomed new Welsh Government guidance reinforcing the need for people in Wales to stay at home, stay safe and protect the NHS.

The Park Authorities are also calling on all UK residents to respect rules and measures in place in Wales to protect everyone, and will be making significant efforts with their partners, this week to ensure that the correct information is reaching people.

Speaking of the revised guidance, Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tegryn Jones said:“The clear measures announced by Wales’ First Minster Mark Drakeford on Friday apply to those living in Wales as well as those planning on travelling across the border into Wales.“In Wales the lockdown continues and you should stay at home unless you are undertaking essential activities. This also means you should not drive to exercise, and only exercise from home, whilst following the Countryside Code.“For those who do not live within walking distance the message from us is clear – do not visit Wales’s National Parks until the Welsh Government’s guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel in Wales have been lifted.“We appreciate that the restrictions are challenging for people, but keeping our residents, visitors and staff safe is the first priority. When the time is right we look forward to welcoming you back to the National Parks of Wales and most importantly doing this at a time when we can keep everyone safe.”The most popular rural hotspots in Wales including Snowdon, Pen y Fan and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path will remain closed using Welsh Government legislation until it is deemed safe to reopen them.
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri – Snowdonia National Park said:“These measures in Wales mean that people cannot drive to exercise in Wales – no matter where they live – and there will continue to be no parking or access to the most popular sites in the Welsh National Parks.“We urge visitors planning on coming to climb Snowdon or any other popular peaks and sites to follow government guidance, to stay at home and exercise in their local area – please don’t make a wasted journey. We will continue to review closures on a weekly basis and will only open sites when it is safe to do so.”Julian Atkins, Chief Executive of Brecon Beacons National Park said:“Exercise in the outdoors is hugely beneficial for physical and mental well-being and this has been recognised by Welsh Government in their minor amendments to legislation on Friday that now allow people to exercise from their doorstep more than once a day.“We hope we have clarified the differences between Wales and England and we thank you for staying home, staying safe and protecting the NHS.”More information on closures as well as changes to National Park services can be found here:
Snowdonia: here 
Brecon Beacons: here 
Pembrokeshire: here 
What Brecon Beacons Tourism doing to support our members?

Dear Brecon Beacons Tourism businesses,

I hope you are staying safe and well in these continuing difficult times. Our team at Brecon Beacons Tourism Assoicaiton Laura Thomas and Julia Blazer are working really hard to keep our members up to date on a daily basis with all information and financial support which is being distributed by Visit Wales, Welsh Government, UK Government and all associated agencies.

The latest announcements on Friday 8th and Sunday 10th May show that we will continue to be in lockdown for some time, although we have a framework to move forward, but only if we all adhere to social distancing rules. The different messages on travel between England and Wales does concern me and I fear this will lead to issues at our tourism hotspots.

I fully understand the extremely difficult situation most of you, our members, are in both financially and mentally. Many will have received no financial help whilst some will have received a grant payment and a rates holiday. Government loans are also beginning to become available. I fully understand that this is money that we are going to have to pay back for many years to come and put businesses under long term financial pressure.

I have been busy working behind the scenes and have been instrumental in setting up a group of tourist associations from all around South and West Wales, we now represent over 1500 tourism businesses and continue to lobby Welsh and UK Governments for further support for tourism. We now meet regularly with Jason Thomas and Rob Holt who lead the tourism section at the Welsh Government.
Our regular meetings are open and frank where we discuss the current issues which include:-the funding loopholes for many of our self-employed and non-ratepayers etcthe desperate need for cash grants not bank loans into our businessesclear guidance on the furlough scheme and the real need for it to be extended until businesses can reopen fully.Our members have the opportunity to raise any issues they have, which can be fed them into our meetings.

More recently I discussed the reopening of businesses and the effects social distancing will have on the profitability and safety of owners, staff and customers. We have also identified that we will need to carefully manage the impact felt by the local community when visitors return to our businesses and local area.

If we cannot open for the key summer season, then many hospitality businesses will require long term financial support. Profitable trading during the key month of August is crucial to most tourism businesses, we face the very real prospect of having 3 winters in a row.

Laura and I also feed into the Regional Mid Wales Forum who have a weekly meeting with high ranking Welsh Government officials and we are working closely with the Local Authorities in the destination and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to produce a recovery action plan for the Brecon Beacons.
We face many challenges in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. When we are allowed to re-open we will need clear guidance and leadership from Welsh and National Governments in order to keep the community spirit that has built up so much during the pandemic and to allow our businesses to run sustainably.

Rest assured we will continue to do our very best for all our members and continue to lobby and forward information to you via our Facebook pageWebsite and E-mail.

If you are interested in joining our association to receive the support we are offering our members then please do get in touch e-mail or look at our website for more information about joining us.
Membership starts at £63.00.

Colin Evans, Chair Brecon Beacon Tourism