People from outside the area will not be able to visit parts of waterfall country. Photo: Gareth James CC-BY-SA-2.0

People from outside the area will not be able to visit parts of waterfall country. Photo: Gareth James CC-BY-SA-2.0

Parts of the Brecon Beacons national park will be out of bounds to visitors from Thursday evening.

New coronavirus rules introduced by the Welsh Government mean people will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse.

The council area includes a section in the South of the national park, east of Pontneddfechan towards the A470 and stretching up as far as Cantref Reservoir. It includes part of the waterfalls country, popular with visitors.

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said, during the local lockdown, motorists will be allowed to drive through the county borough, but may not stop.

Other restrictions include the obligation to wear face coverings in indoor public areas; people being only able to meet outdoors and all licensed premises having to close at 11pm.

Residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf will not be able to leave the area to enjoy the countryside of the Brecon Beacons, including popular mountains such as Pen y Fan, the highest in southern Britain, or the Black Mountain and Black Mountains, which are outside the local lockdown area.

These parts of the national park are still open to visitors who live outside the Rhondda Cynon Taf area.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines.

“We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people’s health.

“We need the help of everyone across Wales to prevent the increasing and onward spread of coronavirus. We can bring coronavirus under control if everyone pulls together and follows the rules we have put in place. They are there to protect you, your family, and your community.

“Coronavirus has not gone away. It is still circulating in communities across Wales. Its vital people stick to the rules.”

The restrictions come into force at 6pm on Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine, who is leading South Wales Police’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, said: “The restrictions announced today are necessary and proportionate to address the rise in Coronavirus rate in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area.

“Our officers have worked hard throughout the pandemic to help the public understand what is expected of us all and to encourage voluntary compliance with the rules. That approach will continue, and the public can expect to see an increased presence in the area where additional measures have been introduced.
“My plea is for everyone to make themselves aware of what they can and can’t do for the time being, and to play their part by following the rules, so that that may continue. It is for the benefit of themselves, their loved ones, and the wider community.

“As well as working with the public, we will continue to work closely with health and local authority partners.

“While enforcement remains a last resort, those who think that the legislation does not apply to them or their business premises should be under no illusion that we and our partners will take action in order to keep our communities safe.”

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority revealed it had been subjected to what it called a ‘targeted and sophisticated’ cyber attack over the weekend and that it was working to restore its services. A planning, access and rights of way meeting due to take place next week has been postponed.

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