The timetable for lifting Covid restrictions on hospitality and events in Wales

Welsh Government announced last night plans to take Wales to Alert Level Zero over the next two weeks if the health situation continues to improve.

The additional restrictions in Wales were brought in on Boxing Day due to a spike in cases, driven by the Omicron variant.

There were limits of 50 people at sporting events and social distancing and the rule of six at hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants. Nightclubs were closed the next day.

This has put an extra squeeze on already struggling sectors who had been hit by a wave of cancellations due to virus fears in the run up to Christmas Day.

It has been estimated by UKHospitality Cymru that businesses affected have been impacted by an extra 25% compared to those in England, where rules weren’t introduced.

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But while Omicron fuelled a huge spike in cases, hospitalisations increased at a far slower rate than in previous waves – and the number of people needing intensive care has remained relatively stable.

Wales also has the most successful booster programme of the UK nations which has all added pressure on Welsh Government to ease rules.

Now First Minister Mark Drakeford has revealed the timetable for moving away from the current rules.

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Here are the dates:

Saturday, January 15: The first change will see the number of people who can take part in an event outdoors will rise from 50 to 500. This will allow small crowds into football and rugby matches and events like Parkrun to take place.

Friday, January 21: All outdoor activities will move to alert level zero. No limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities, crowds will be able to return to sporting events. It will mean the Six Nations can be played in front of fans next month and crowds can return to the Racecourse.

Friday, January 28 – Wales will move to alert level zero for all indoor places and nightclubs will be able to open. This will see the rule of six and social distancing laws dropped although guidance on keeping staff and customers safe will remain in place.

Covid passes will still be needed for large events, cinemas and nightclubs and while mask wearing will also remain in most indoor public places.

UKHospitality Wales director David Chapman said the rules had been punishing for the sector and that this news was welcomed.

He added that they had been trading 25% below venues in England – which were also struggling – and that extra money on top of the £120m package should be found to support businesses in the sector.

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