Just 10 beaches across Wales will have lifeguard cover this summer, Wales’ First Minister has warned.
Speaking during Plenary, Mark Drakeford said the public needed to be “extra careful” should they decide to visit their local beach.
New rules for Wales kicked in this week which allow members of two households to meet outdoors at a social distance, and as a “rule of thumb” they should stay within five miles of their homes.
It means many people will be able to enjoy their nearest beach for sunbathing and swimming, if they live locally.
But due to the drop in capacity of the RNLI, only a small proportion of Wales’ coastal areas will have lifeguards on duty should someone experience difficulty in the sea.
“Across the whole of the UK, the RNLI will only be operating 30% of normal coverage this year because of the constraints that coronavirus has caused,” said Mr Drakeford, responding to a question by former First Minister Carwyn Jones.
“And that means that there will only be 10 beaches in the whole of Wales which will have lifeguard cover – and that will be from June to the beginning of September.
“So it is very important to say to people – even those who live locally and can get to a beach within five miles – that they will have to take extra care this year.
“The help and supervision that would have been there normally to make sure people can use the sea safely will not be available in the way that it has been.
“People will have to take very direct responsibility for making sure that they factor that into their plans.”
Gist Vile has contacted the Welsh Government to ask which beaches will have lifeguards on duty.
On Tuesday, it was announced that lockdown could be reintroduced in Wales this winter should coronavirus make a resurgence.
Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething said it would depend on the prevalence of the virus at the time.
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It followed a statement from Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton, who warned the virus is “likely to thrive in cooler, indoor environments particularly where people gather closely together”.
Dr Atherton recommended that messages to the public highlight “the potential need to re-impose more restrictive measures in the winter if viral activity increases”.