Continuing on its saga of devolved daftness, Wales has now come out of lockdown, enabling adult gaming centres in the principality to reopen, whilst the entire nation of England technically remains locked up until the end of the month, and Scotland has added three more councils to its tier 3 resulting in more AGCs closing up.
Confused? Not surprising really as England, Scotland and Wales continue to remain united, as a kingdom in name, but certainly not in Covid-policy.
The Welsh government has trod its own firmly erratic path since the onset of pandemic-related restrictions, with the country’s amusement professionals almost singularly targeted by way of elongated periods of mandated closure, as well as denials (and indeed, retractions) of business support funding.
According to latest reports, this disfunctional approach to governance is likely to continue. In a Bacta report to members, the trade body advised somewhat frustratingly: “The Welsh Government yesterday confirmed that the grants available to businesses ordered to close by the Government would not be available to AGCs. We are again challenging this but there seems to be a brick wall on this issue that we cannot knock down.”
It’s a stubborn resistance by the Welsh government whose policy in this area may well result in the brick walls of many amusement operations falling down – for good.
But the industry argument continues to fall on deaf ears and a government clearly out-of-synch.
Of course, the fact that Wales is now back open will be of some comfort to amusement operators but the disarray is plainly evident: whilst Wales’ only neighbour state stays shuttered, many pundits predict that border towns such as Wrexham are now likely to see influxes of traffic to their pubs and restaurants, as English people try to escape the draconian measures at home.
Just how one is supposed to police this cross-border traffic when both nations still inhabit the same sovereign state is anyone’s guess. For its own part, Welsh ministers have said that they plan to meet with their English equivalents and hammer out “any potential border issues.”
Looking northwards, any answers to that border conundrum will certainly not be forthcoming from Scotland, and indeed, unnecessary. According to latest reports, Nicola Sturgeon is actually looking at a lockdown of their own with the idea of a shorter national level 4 lockdown currently being considered.
In the meantime, Welsh arcadians should make hay whilst the autumn sun shines – after all, in the absence of any government support, who knows how long it will be before the lockdown lunatics take over the asylum once again?