Covid Omicron rules scrapped in Wales from tomorrow – starting with outdoor sports

The First Minister of Wales said Wales was in an ‘optimistic’ position, but warned the pandemic was far from over, adding: ‘Omicron is still here’

Covid restrictions in Wales are expected to be eased over the next two weeks, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

From tomorrow, up to 500 people will be able to attend outdoor event activities – up from 50.

And from January 21, the number of people who can participate in outdoor activities will no longer be limited.

Nightclubs could reopen from January 28, when Alert Level 0 restrictions will come into effect for indoor restrictions.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the ease of the restrictions comes as the number of Covid cases in Wales has fallen steadily over the past two weeks.

Official figures from yesterday show case rates in Wales were just over 3,000 with 11 deaths.







Empty streets in Swansea, Wales, days before Mark Drakeford introduced tough Covid restrictions last December
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Picture:

John Myer)


But Mr Drakeford warned the pandemic was far from over, adding: “Omicron is still here”.

“Today we are in an optimistic place,” he told a Welsh government briefing as he urged people to continue to follow all the rules.

“There will be tough days and weeks as we continue to respond to Omicron, but we know there will be many more better days ahead for all of us.”

Outlining the steps to bring Wales back to alert level 0, he continued: “Cabinet have agreed a plan to bring us back step by step to alert level 0. Provided we continue to see the Public health situation will continue to improve over the next two weeks.

“We will do this in a carefully phased manner, as we have done during the pandemic. To ensure that the first signs of this week continue.

“We will be monitoring the data very closely. Looking at the impact on staff absences, particularly the impact on schools where we can do all we can to support face-to-face learning.”

Since Boxing Day, Wales has been in Alert Level 2. Measures include the wearing of face masks in all public places, the two-metre rule and the rule of six in pubs, bars and restaurants.







Nightclubs are set to reopen from January 28 under Mr Drakeford’s latest guidelines
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Picture:

Getty Images)


Nightclubs have been closed since December 26.

As part of the Level 0 alert measures, the rule of six, table service and the two-metre physical distancing rule would be removed for hospitality.

And with the phasing out of Covid measures, spectators will be able to return to outdoor sporting events, including Six Nations rugby, although Covid passes will be required.

Mr Drakeford noted that the drop in the number of Covid cases in Wales is based on people who have had a positive PCR test.

This means that the number of cases in real terms could be higher because not everyone who tested positive for Covid with lateral flow will have needed to take a PCR test.

Welsh Tory leader of Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, accused the Welsh Government of ‘overreacting’ to the threat posed by Omicron and said he was the ‘outlier’ in the UK.

“We have asked for a roadmap on restrictions from Labor Ministers and I am happy that they have finally heeded the pleas of the Welsh Conservatives,” he said.

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