Thursday, January 20, 2022

Wales allows outdoor sports enthusiasts to return as Covid measures ease

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Crowds can return to outdoor sporting events and nightclubs are allowed to reopen in Wales in a phased easing of restrictions.

Outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without additional coronavirus restrictions, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced.

Laying out a plan to bring Wales back to zero alert measures, he said that from tomorrow, Saturday, the number of people able to attend outdoor events will rise from 50 to 500 in the country.

And from next Friday, Wales will move to zero alert for all outdoor activities, meaning there is no limit to the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities.

However, the Covid pass is still required for entry to larger outdoor events.

Mr Drakeford stressed that the full switch to zero alert would depend on the Covid public health situation continuing to improve.

From two weeks, Friday January 28, nightclubs will be able to reopen, he announced.

And working from home is no longer required by law but remains important, he said.

Citing scientific models, he said the number of infections had fallen sharply in the past week.

However, he warned that the drop in the number of PCR tests being performed inevitably led to a drop in infections.

The success of the vaccination program – in Wales it is the fastest in Britain, he said – has also allowed the government to ease restrictions.

Also from the end of the month, companies, employers and other organizations must carry out a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take appropriate measures to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

And the Covid pass is required for entry to nightclubs, events, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.

But the rule of six, table service and physical distancing of 2m would no longer be mandatory in pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants.

Mr Drakeford said: “The actions we took together helped us weather the Omicron storm. The latest data are pointing to some positive signs that the peak may be over.

“We can now look to the future with more confidence and plan to gradually lift alert level two restrictions, starting with outdoor measures.

“But the pandemic is not over yet. We will be closely monitoring the public health situation – this is a fast moving and volatile variant that could change suddenly. I urge everyone to continue to play by the rules and have your vaccines to keep Wales safe.

After returning to level zero, regulations will be reviewed every three weeks instead of weekly, he said.

The number of people in hospital was declining, but he warned: “Coronavirus concentrations, while declining, are still high and there could be a difficult few weeks and days ahead.”

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