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Will Wales War on England?


If the question seems either startling or silly, it is only a reflection of the growing confusion and sometimes anger resulting from constantly shifting travel rules and pandemic restrictions that are making it difficult to know what is allowed when.

That's true in most parts of the world, increasingly in Europe, and now across various parts of the not-so-United Kingdom, where regional and national governments both control aspects of the rules.

Just now, with cases rising and different plans being put into effect, Wales is front and center: 15 of its 22 local authorities are living under rules that do not permit them to leave or to enter another.

But at the same time, tourism authorities—including for a time its own—have been encouraging Brits unable to visit most of Europe to visit Wales, especially the not-locked-down area of Mid Wales.

And since some of those visitors are coming from areas with worse outbreaks than the locked-down parts of Wales, local anger has been growing and the First Minister of Wales has been threatening quarantines for English visitors. Harsh words are showing up on social media, including accusing the British government of a colonialist attitude toward Wales.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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These issues have arisen all over Europe. In Germany, for instance, some States have imposed bans preventing accommodation providers from taking on guests from areas with high incidence rates and the courts have become involved.

In the case of Wales the problem lies in the inconsistent application of lockdown rules across the UK. In England people from areas with very high infection rates can still travel where they like; in Wales residents in lockdown areas must stay put. A ban on people travelling to Wales from hotspots elsewhere is now in force (as of 18:00 yesterday).

This, however, has nothing to do with anti-English sentiments. It would make more sense for England to come in line with the rules which Wales has put in place - but the government probably is afraid of the bad headlines this might generate.

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