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Don’t come to Pembrokeshire

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AS THE Bank Holiday weekend approaches, visitors and second home-owners are being urged to continue to stay away from Pembrokeshire.

The message from the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership is that the County will still be here once the crisis is over.

Confusion has been caused by the difference between the advice given by senior police officers in England on permitted travel for leisure and Welsh Government rules. The Welsh Government has kept the lockdown tighter in Wales to delay and suppress the spread of COVID-19 into Wales’ popular tourist areas, overwhelmingly situated in rural West and North Wales. So far, that strategy has largely proven successful; however, growing discontent at the lockdown’s restrictions in England could – it is feared – cause a spike in travel over the delayed Bank Holiday weekend.

The UK broadcast and print media’s reporting of a projected relaxation of the lockdown in England could also lead to an influx of travellers to Wales. Some English right-wing tabloids have stoked expectations, while misinformation on social media and a few crackpots appear determined to push the limits.

“Pembrokeshire is a beautiful place and when the time is right, we will welcome you. But that time is not now,” said Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“My thanks go to all those who have observed the restrictions and stayed at home so far.”

The Chairman of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Cllr Paul Harries, added: “Pembrokeshire has earned its reputation as one of the UK’s leading tourist destinations, so it doesn’t come naturally to ask visitors to stay away.
“However, protecting our rural communities is our priority right now and this can only be achieved by adhering to Government guidelines.

“We are urging people to remain patient, to stay at your primary home and only visit when the time is right.”
Jane Rees-Baynes, Chair of Pembrokeshire Tourism, said there was still ‘a lot of concern within the sector that people will be tempted to visit our beautiful area despite it being unlawful to do so’.

“We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to travel to Pembrokeshire this bank holiday,” she said.
“We will be here ready and waiting to welcome you back when the restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to return.”

Together with Dyfed Powys Police, Pembrokeshire County Council has written to some 6,000 owners of holiday homes (including second homes and holiday lets) at their primary address, urging them to remain where they are.

“The single most important action to stop the infection spreading, to reduce the pressure on our stretched emergency services and ultimately to save lives is for everyone to stay at home,” reads the letter, signed by Chief Executive Ian Westley and Chief Constable Mark Collins and supported by Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum.

It adds: “The response from both the public and businesses has on the whole been exceptional, with the majority of people acting in the interests of our communities, notwithstanding the extreme challenges that this can present. We are therefore grateful for the commitment and sacrifices made.

“However, over the period that the ‘lockdown measures’ have been in force, we have received reports of people arriving at various properties in the County to take up occupation – allegedly in contravention of the restrictions. If correct, this risks compromising the disease control measures and puts lives at risk.”

Iwan Thomas, Chief Executive of PLANED, added: “Our communities across Pembrokeshire have respected and worked within the lockdown guidelines. However, there is a growing nervousness of potential visitors from elsewhere at this current time, who could expose our population to external risks which would be unfair and unwelcome during the lockdown.
“We need to prioritise the protection and safeguarding of our communities at this time, and then welcome visitors again, only when it is safe to do so.”
The Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership is made up of Pembrokeshire County Council, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Pembrokeshire Tourism and PLANED.

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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Health

Pembrokeshire residents urged to take a virtual GP consultation when offered

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PEMBROKESHIRE residents are being urged to take up the offer of a virtual consultation, over the phone or video call with their GP, to help Keep Wales Safe during the current lockdown ‘stay at home’ restrictions.

The way we access local NHS services is changing, with more ways in which you can consult your doctor or nurse. Most surgeries now offer telephone as well as electronic advice consultations in the first instance. Following your advice call, a face to face appointment may be organised, but video consultations are also available. You can now speak to a doctor or healthcare professional using the video camera in your smartphone, tablet or computer and a connection to the internet. This is often more convenient and can save you time, as you will not need to travel for a face-to-face appointment. The system used is confidential and secure.

In a recent YouGov survey carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign only 27% of residents in Mid and West Wales had made use of the GP virtual service over the past 12 months with just 57% having heard of the service. However, 88% believed it was important to have access to a remote GP consultation once they had learnt of its existence.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “If you are offered a video consultation appointment this is because your Health Care Professional has indicated that is it safe and appropriate to do so. Your video appointment will be confidential and will not be recorded. If you require support please contact your GP surgery using the number provided in the appointment confirmation.”

She continued: “By putting off small problems or regular appointments you could potentially be putting more strain on NHS emergency services so please, help us to help you, do not put anything off. Local GP surgeries are open and are there to offer medical advice and consult patients.”

After being offered a video consultation you will be sent a letter, email or text with details of your appointment. This communication will contain details of the service that has requested to see you by video and have provided a web address link. You can type or copy the web address link into a web browser via an internet enabled device and this will take you to the video clinic waiting area.

  • In order to access your virtual appointment, you will need:
  • Access to a device that will allow you to access the internet. You should use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser on a desktop or laptop, or on an Android tablet or smartphone or Safari web browser on an Apple iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.
  • Your device will need a webcam (camera), speakers and microphone.
  • A good internet connection (if you can watch a YouTube video, this is good indication that you have a good connection).
  • An internet usage plan that is sufficient to cover the data consumption of a video call – ideally use a Wi-Fi connection if you have this available.

Sixty two percent of those surveyed by YouGov in Mid and West Wales said they will continue to access NHS services using the new ways that have been introduced as a result of the pandemic. The new methods include making more use of pharmacists; virtual GP consultations and using the NHS 111 online and telephone services.

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‘Cautious optimism’ for county’s tourism sector – but clarity still needed

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‘GIVE us clarity’ is the overriding message from the County’s tourism and hospitality businesses as the sector looks forward with cautious optimism to another busy season.

In a meeting hosted by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, thirty key local businesses were able to share their views with Paul Davies MS, Pembrokeshire County Council, the National Park and Visit Pembrokeshire.

The meeting focussed on the need for business support measures so long as uncertainty remains over the timetable for re-opening the economy in Wales.

Stephen Crabb said: “There is a lot of belief around that this summer will see another ‘staycation’ boom so long as the vaccination programme continues to make good progress and infection rates fall. Pembrokeshire has had a lot of national media coverage in recent months and could experience a bumper season but it’s crucial we get the re-opening right. There is a clear need for some kind of timetable to help businesses prepare appropriately and for clear rules to avoid confusion and contradictory messages.”

Paul Davies said: “It was a pleasure to hear from tourism businesses across Pembrokeshire about some of the challenges that they’re currently facing. The message was pretty clear – they want clarity from the Welsh Government and some timescales by which they can start to plan for reopening. I’ll certainly be taking back the concerns highlighted during the meeting and raising them with Welsh Government Ministers at the Senedd.”

Emma Thornton from Visit Pembrokeshire added: “Great to attend the Hospitality and Tourism Round table event today and to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing challenges our industry faces over the coming months but also to share a collective optimism for what we believe will be a really strong year for tourism in Pembrokeshire when we are able to reopen and welcome our visitors back.

“Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management (DMO) for Pembrokeshire will be working closely with local stakeholders and businesses to help realise this opportunity in a sustainable and responsible way mindful of protecting what makes our beautiful county so special”

Stephen Crabb: Wants clarity for tourism businesses

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