As areas across the UK are put into local lockdown, three Local Authorities in the heart of South Wales, along with the local Health Board and Police Force, are urging potential visitors to the area to come back at another time.

Since Tuesday 22 September, the areas of Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf are all under local lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their local area unless with a reasonable excuse, such as for work where they cannot work from home. It also means that no one can enter these areas for leisure purposes. We are closed to visitors. Please, visit us another time.

Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Councils, along with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Public Health Wales, and South Wales Police recently issued an urgent plea to residents living in the area and potential tourists that local lockdowns must be adhered to, to stem the spread of COVID-19 and prevent overwhelming the NHS. The full statement can be read  here.(https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Newsroom/PressReleases/2020/September/OurnumbersareheadinginthewrongdirectionJointStatementbyCwmTafMorgannwgLeaders.aspx)

The region sits at the heart of South Wales, with some key visitor destinations, such as the seaside town of Porthcawl with its numerous hotels and caravan sites; Bike Park Wales, home to the UK’s greatest and most diverse selection of all-weather mountain bike trails; sections of the Wales Coastal Path, and numerous walking trails in the Rhondda and Cynon Valleys; sections of Waterfall Country including the Sgwd Y Eira trail, as well as some southern sections of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

These local lockdowns have been imposed by Welsh Government, to keep residents safe following the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases across the region, and means that these areas have greater restrictions placed upon them, compared to other areas in Wales.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council said: “We know that this news may be disappointing for those who were planning to stay in the local area over the coming weeks, however, we have a duty to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and the country as a whole.

“There is a worrying resurgence in the virus, which residents across Rhondda Cynon Taf and the entire region worked together to reduce. There have been so many sacrifices made by people up to this point, and our carers and NHS staff have worked tirelessly throughout this time. We cannot let their dedication go to waste.

“We are working with local businesses such as accommodation providers, to ensure they understand the need to comply with these restrictions, to keep residents safe but also how they can rearrange people’s holidays to the area for a time which is safer. We want to welcome visitors to our area, but only when it is safe.

“We will not tolerate people visiting from outside each of the local areas, disregarding the restrictions that residents have to live with and threatening our path to reducing transmission of the virus. Our enforcement officers will work closely with South Wales Police to ensure people who shouldn’t be here are not here, and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action on any businesses who are not complying with local lockdown measures.”

Councillor Kevin O’Neill, Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Leader, said: “The decision to impose stricter restrictions has not been taken lightly; this is an essential measure to keep our communities safe

“Merthyr Tydfil is closed to tourism. I would urge anyone from outside the area who was planning a visit to one of our local attractions to postpone their plans and revisit as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be delighted to welcome you back to our beautiful county borough at a later date.

“That being said, Merthyr Tydfil is a gateway to the Brecon Beacons from many areas of South Wales and the A470 remains open. We simply ask those travelling through to avoid stopping, where possible.

Councillor Huw David, Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “We cannot afford to let our guard down against Coronavirus. Bridgend County Borough is one of the latest areas where new restrictions are now necessary, and it is essential for people to recognise that the pandemic has not gone away.

“In the case of Bridgend County Borough, it is also especially important for people not to travel or gather in large numbers for events such the cancelled Elvis Festival. We are working closely with our partners, including South Wales Police, to ensure that the thronging crowds that we usually see around this weekend do not happen during this period.

“Please – think twice, stay away, and stay safe.”

Full details of the local lockdown restrictions for Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf can be found at www.gov.wales/local-lockdown 

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