Crowds to return to sporting events as Wales pushes ahead with phased easing of Covid restrictions

By Dylan Davies   |   News editor   |
Thursday 20th January 2022 10:00 pm
@dylandavies1
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CROWDS will be able to return to sporting events from tomorrow as the Welsh Government pushes ahead with its phased easing of restrictions.

All restrictions across Wales, bar face coverings in public places, will be lifted from next week, with the Welsh Conservatives calling on ministers to set a date to scrap all Covid-19 laws in Wales.

Giving an update this evening, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that Wales will complete the move to alert level zero on Friday 28 January, unless the public health situation changes for the worse.

The Welsh Government says the latest public health data suggests Wales has passed the peak of the omicron wave and coronavirus cases are falling back to levels similar to those seen earlier in the autumn. There have also been reductions in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital.

From tomorrow (Friday, 21 January), Wales will move to alert level zero for all outdoor activities.

This means:

• Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events.

• There will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities and events.

• Outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without the additional measures required introduced in December, such as the rule of six and 2m social distancing

• The Covid Pass will continue to be required for entry to larger outdoor events attended by more than 4,000 people, if unseated, or 10,000 people when seated.

• The Covid Pass is required in all cinemas, theatres and concert halls which are currently open.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The latest figures show we have passed the omicron peak and we can continue to lift the alert level two protections as part of our careful and phased plan.

“We will lift the limits on the number of people who can gather for outdoor events. We remain cautiously confident the public health situation is heading in the right direction and next week we will be able to complete the move to alert level zero, unless the situation changes for the worse.

“We are in this position thanks to the efforts of everyone in Wales and our fantastic vaccination programme. It is important that everyone continues to follow the rules and the guidance to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including taking up the offer of a booster vaccine if they haven’t already done so.”

On Friday 28 January, Wales will complete the move to alert level zero.

This means:

• Nightclubs will re-open.

• Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

• The general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed.

• The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.

• Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details.

• Working from home will remain part of advice from the Welsh Government but it will no longer be a legal requirement.

The Covid Pass will continue to be required to enter larger indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

The self-isolation rules for everyone who tests positive for Covid and the face-covering rules, which apply in most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.

The next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 10 February, when the Welsh Government will review all the measures at alert level zero.

Montgomeryshire MS and Shadow Health Minister for the Welsh Conservatives, Russell George, has called on ministers to set out a date to scrap all Covid-related laws, including the legal requirement to self-isolate.

Mr George added that the move would “signal a return to normality, living with the virus, and the return of the Welsh people’s freedoms”.

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