Welsh exploit Covid loophole to sneak across border for pints in England as landlords slam 'crippling' booze ban

WELSH punters are exploiting a Covid loophole to sneak across the border for pints in England after landlords slammed the government’s “crippling” booze ban. 

Last Friday, the Welsh government banned all alcohol sales in pubs, restaurants and bars and forced boozers to bolt their doors at 6pm in a bid to curb the virus. 

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But on the same day, First Minister Mark Drakeford opened the border, allowing people in Wales to travel to Tier 1 and 2 areas in England.

The new rules allow boozers to cross the 160-mile long border with England to grab a pint without breaking the law – although Mr Drakeford has urged residents not to do so. 

Wales now has the highest number of Covid cases in Britain – with 351.5 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

Welsh residents immediately spotted the loophole, with many admitting they’d already crossed the border for a tipple. 

Kyle Frith wrote on Twitter: “Just over the border into England to have a pint mate. 

“Just like we safely could have done over on this side of the border to keep our hospitality businesses running.”

Another simply tweeted: “I'm off over the border for a drink.”

Some Welsh nationals have expressed their fury at the booze ban, claiming they unfairly punish Welsh businesses. 

Grace Gardener wrote on Twitter: “My border village pub in Wales is closing while 200 metres up the road the one in England will be doing a roaring trade.  

“This is how silly it is.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so heartbreaking for our local publican.” 

Welsh landlords have also hit back at the draconian new restrictions.

David Peters, 55, who runs The Stumble Inn in Bwlch-y-Cibau branded the measures “crippling”. 

Mr Peters country pub – just seven miles from the border with England – has seen an 80 per cent drop in turn-over since the new rules were introduced. 

Mr Peters said: “The Stumble Inn is near the border so while England’s in Tier 2 on the other side of the road, Welsh customers will all go there.”

The landlord admitted he’d happily hop over the border for a pint and didn’t mind Welsh punters doing the same. 

He said: “I’ll do it myself – needs must!

“My wife has gone to England with her mum to do her christmas shopping today.

“As we speak they’re in the House of the Rising Sun enjoying tapas and wine while they’ve left me looking after the dogs in an empty pub.” 

But the Welsh landlord questioned the government’s decision to put pubs across the country under the same restrictions.

He said: “Not everyone wants to come out and get hammered but people do want a glass of wine with their Sunday lunch. That’s not a great deal to ask, is it? 

“There isn’t much covid in our area, unlike other parts of the country, but in Wales they’ve put us all under the same rules.” 

The news comes as case rates in over half Wales’ council areas have hit their highest levels yet, according to Public Health Wales. 

Neath Port Talbot – with 693.6 cases per 100,000 in the last week – is the highest in Wales. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford urged Welsh residents last week not to travel to England for a drink – but admitted it would not be illegal to do so. 

Mr Drakeford said: “The law in Wales will not prevent people from going there.

“The advice from the Welsh Government is not to do it, because the further you travel and the more people you mix with elsewhere, the greater the risk you pose.” 

But pubs in England are still seeing Welsh customers sneak over the border, despite the First Minister’s pleas.

Teresa Roberts-Williams, 51, who runs The Anchor Inn in Shrewsbury, said it was inevitable that Welsh customers would come over to England for a tipple. 

She said: “We do obviously have Welsh customers coming over the border. 

“For pubs like ourselves who are following the rules because we understand Covid is here and it’s still quite dangerous, we want to keep customers safe and we are abiding by the rules. 

“The major issue is that Wales and England are different, that’s where it’s gone wrong for our industry – it’s not the same rules everywhere.”

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