Covid: Clean-up after crowds party in Cardiff Bay despite restrictions

Clean up work is under way after huge crowds gathered in Cardiff Bay on Friday evening, despite coronavirus restrictions still being in place. 

Discarded beer bottles and other rubbish at Cardiff Bay

The morning after the night before… a tide of rubbish was left behind by partying crowds on Friday night

Cardiff council said a significant amount of rubbish had been left by “large groups of people intent on breaking Covid-19 restrictions”.

Covid rules state six people from two different households can meet outdoors.

media captionHundreds seen partying in Cardiff Bay

Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas said people who took part should be “deeply ashamed of themselves”.

The council said the trail of litter left a “huge task” for clean-up staff as “bins were left unused and the ground was littered with rubbish”.

Street cleaning outside the Welsh Parliament on Saturday morning

Street cleaning outside the Welsh Parliament on Saturday morning

“Despite the preventative measures put in place by the council, in partnership with South Wales Police, the Welsh government’s coronavirus regulations were again broken by a significant number of people illegally gathering in Cardiff Bay,” the authority said.

“The rules are clear, six people, from two households are allowed to meet outdoors, maintaining two metre social distancing.

“Breaking these rules significantly increases the chances of Covid-19 cases rising in the city.”

BBC Wales has attempted to contact South Wales Police for comment. It is not known if any arrests have been made.

Volunteer litter picker Claire Heat

Volunteer litter picker Claire Heat helped with the clean-up for more than two hours on Saturday morning

Volunteer litter picker Claire Heat, who has been helping with the clean-up since about 06:00 BST, said “there’s broken glass everywhere” along with unopened bottles and cans of alcohol.

“I live down the road and you get used to the fact that you know it is going to be awful when you wake up,” she said.

“The quicker we can get cleaned up and swept away the better it is for all the people that want to come down and enjoy the bay during the day.”

Empty bins in readiness for a new day outside the Senedd

Clean again: the steps of the Senedd had been tidied up by 08:30 BST on Saturday

Supervisor Tony Tobenas said the area had been “obliterated” by the revellers overnight, which was “demoralising” for the clean-up crew who had been called in to deal with the mess from about 04:30.

“They shouldn’t be here today – they should be home,” he said.

“We’ve had to call them in to do this. This is additional [work] and got to be paid for.”

He said the mess had become worse since the restrictions allowing wider travel across Wales had been lifted.

“We are supplying bins for them and they just aren’t using them. They’re throwing things on the floor,” he said.

Clean-up supervisor Tony Tobenas

Clean-up supervisor Tony Tobenas said the area had been “obliterated” overnight

Cardiff council leader Mr Thomas said police had taken over from council marshals, who had been patrolling the site in the day, after the situation “escalated”.

“The clear-up will mean an unnecessary cost to the council and so the taxpayer,” he said.

‘We’re just not ready to party’

Lena Ciric, a microbiologist from University College London, said it was not safe to “party” due to the threat of Covid.

“Not only are there lots of people together in a particular space but, also, they’re drinking so they probably won’t be wearing masks… inhibitions will be lowered and they’ll be closer together,” she said.

“We’re just not ready to party.

“It’s been really difficult for all of us and, you know, I absolutely understand that we want to see our friends and we want to let our hair down because it has been a really, really difficult year.

“But, ultimately, I don’t think anywhere in the world, really, we’re ready to party.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: “This can’t continue.

“If people are ignoring the rules on the very steps where they are made then we have a big issue.

“It’s time Labour ministers viewed licensed premises as part of the solution, not the problem.”

In response to the scenes at Cardiff Bay, Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The pandemic hasn’t gone away.

“We need to keep coronavirus rates low so we can keep relaxing restrictions.

“We’ve come so far since the winter when rates were incredibly high – no one wants to see those sacrifices wasted.

“Stay focused and we can all enjoy the better times ahead.”

Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been asked to comment.