Regional border areas in England are to brace for influx of ‘Covid refugees’ from Scotland and Wales, where anti-party restrictions are in place this New Year’s eve, reports claim.
Following strict coronavirus restrictions imposed in Scotland and Wales, “thousands” of New Year revellers are expected to travel to English border ‘party hotspots’, such as Bristol or Newcastle to celebrate the New Year.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on the 27th of December that there will be “no new restrictions introduced in England before the New Year”, reassuring businesses that they would not miss out on one of their most lucrative nights of the year.
However, the government has maintained that this does not mean there won’t be a return to restrictions in the future.
This is a stark contrast from Scotland and Wales whose First Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have already imposed strict coronavirus regulations on their nations.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party-run Scotland has seen nightclubs close from December 27th and also a ban on more than three households meeting at venues that serve alcohol. Scottish venues that serve alcohol will only be permitted to do so via table service.
These restrictions will scupper New Year’s Eve plans in Scotland, as well as Hogmanay which is an end of year festival specific to Scotland.
Labour’s Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales has taken an even harsher approach to restrictions, banning nightclubs from the 26th of November, limiting numbers of people meeting in hospitality settings to six people – even if they are all from the same household – and bringing back mandatory face masks in venues.
Breitbart has seen dozens of people claiming to be residents of Scotland and Wales on social media voice anger at their respective leaders, while stating they will be going into England to celebrate the New Year. The Daily Mail, likewise, reports that “pubs in England brace for New Year invasion from across the borders”.
While the restrictions in Scotland and Wales will scupper their hospitality industries — on one of the busiest nights of the year — English publicans and club owners are likely to take full advantage of the ‘Covid refugees’ on New Year’s Eve, after two years of lockdowns and restrictions affecting their businesses.
Glad Tidings! England Escapes Any New Lockdown Rules for New Year’s Evehttps://t.co/W7w4TErDEf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 27, 2021
Due to devolution in the UK, brought in by Labour’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved powers which grant them the ability to pass legislation, such as coronavirus restrictions, within their region.
There are no hard borders or quarantine requirements between UK nations, so revellers are free to move across them without showing any identification as normal.
There are also strict rules imposed on Northern Ireland, however due to the sea border, it is less likely that as many ‘Covid refugees’ will be coming to the mainland to celebrate New Year.
— Mark Jenkinson MP (@markjenkinsonmp) December 28, 2021
In response to seeing some of the more extreme restrictions in Wales, Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson tweeted a ‘wilted rose’ emoji followed by “[that’s] Labour for you”. The rose is the symbol of the UK Labour movement.
New Year’s resolutions to get healthier may also be in jeopardy in Wales. Volunteer fitness group Parkrun has had to postpone its 5km events in Wales following Mark Drakeford’s decision to limit outside gatherings to fifty people.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted in response to this news: “Parkrun has helped so many people improve their health across the UK. I can’t see how restricting outdoor exercise in this way is justified or proportionate”.
Conservative MP Tom Hunt took a more direct approach with Drakeford commenting: “What an absolutely ludicrous decision by Drakeford. And not the first one either”.
What an absolutely ludicrous decision by Drakeford. And not the first one either. https://t.co/RufBxqZlZi
— Tom Hunt MP (@tomhunt1988) December 28, 2021