People ignoring coronavirus rules by socialising in houses are the reason behind a rise in cases leading to parts of north Wales going into a lockdown, a council leader has claimed.
Those living in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham will not be able to leave or enter without a “reasonable excuse” such as work or education.
They are the same restrictions as seen in most of south Wales.
The new measures will come into effect at 18:00 BST on Thursday.
“It’s a matter of grave concern because this virus is affecting people across north Wales,” said Flintshire council leader Ian Roberts.
“I believe that people meeting in houses has caused the higher incident rate.”
But Mr Roberts wants to see restrictions imposed on people being able to travel to open parts of Wales from areas in England which have local lockdowns but no rules on leaving the area.
“If I am supporting the people of Flintshire in lockdown unable to go to a caravan further down the north Wales coast… it doesn’t seem right that people from higher infection rates in England can go to the same caravan parks,” he added.
“When these restrictions are applied it has to make sense to the local population. Whether this makes sense we will see.”
Meanwhile, Conwy council leader Sam Rowlands said he was “disappointed and frustrated” the Welsh Government did not take measures to protect tourism which would lose out again.
“There’s no scientific evidence visitors are causing the rise in Covid cases,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“If there was, there should be measures in place but there isn’t any evidence that’s the cause.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating that’s not being recognised by the regulations being put in place.
“It’s likely to have a big effect on the tourism industry which has already suffered this year – and that’s why I’m disappointed there isn’t any recognition of that by Welsh Government.
“The ask has been made to Welsh Government for specific measures which allow visitors to come in and support our tourism sector, but it’s disappointing they haven’t been taken on board.”
What are the rules?
Under the restrictions no-one can leave or enter a lockdown area except for a limited set of reasons, including:
- to work, if you cannot work from home
- to provide care
- travelling to education
- elite athletic training and competitions
- to provide or receive emergency assistance
- to meet a legal obligation, and to access or receive public services
- to avoid injury or illness or escape a risk of harm
It is permitted to travel through the areas concerned, so motorists can continue to use the A55 to get to or out of Gwynedd and Anglesey.
Rules allowing people to meet extended households are suspended, meaning people can only be with their usual household when indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.
Other Wales-wide restrictions apply, including the wearing of face masks in shops.
Tuesday’s announcement means 504,956 more people will be added to local lockdowns, with a total of 2.3 million people under tougher restrictions than at the start of September.
Just six mostly rural counties – Monmouthshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd, Anglesey and Powys – will not be subject to restrictions from Thursday.
Covid-19 case rate changes in north Wales
Cases per 100,000 people, seven day rolling average
Conwy has seen 42.7 cases per 100,000 people in the latest week, while the equivalent figure for Denbighshire was 41.8.
In Flintshire it was 45.5, and Wrexham it is 33.1.
The worst rate in Wales is in Blaenau Gwent which has a rate of 307.7 per 100,000 over seven days.
In the south the areas of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot and the Vale of Glamorgan are all subject to restrictions.
The town of Llanelli is also under local lockdown rules.
But in Caerphilly and Newport there had been “real falls in case numbers”, according to Health Minister Vaughan Gething.