Plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in Wales to Alert Level Zero by end of January
Alert level two coronavirus restrictions are set to be lifted in Wales over the next two weeks, if conditions allow, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.
From this Saturday, the number of people who can be present at outdoor events in Wales will rise from 50 to 500. If conditions allow, there will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities in Wales from Friday 21 January.
Under the plans, crowds would be able to return to outdoor sporting events and outdoor hospitality would be able to operate more freely - though the Covid Pass will still be required for entry to larger outdoor events.
From Friday 28 January, if the downward trend continues, Wales would move to alert level zero for all indoor activities - seeing nightclubs reopen and the rule of 6 measures lifted.
Working from home would no longer be a legal requirement, but 'important', according to the Welsh Government. Businesses, employers and other organisations must also still take a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of the virus.
Speaking about the changes, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said;
"I want to thank everyone for following the rules we have had in place since Boxing Day to help keep Wales safe while the fast-moving omicron variant has surged through our communities.
"I also want to thank everyone involved in our vaccination programme for the enormous efforts to give almost a third of the population a booster since the start of December – this has been vital in increasing our protection against omicron.
"The actions we have taken together have helped us to weather the omicron storm. The latest data suggests some positive signs that the peak may have passed.
"We can now look more confidently to the future and plan to start gradually removing the alert level two restrictions, starting with the outdoors measures."
Provided restrictions are lifted as planned, the Welsh Government would re-introduce its three-weekly cycle of reviewing remaining restrictions from 10 February.
Mr Drakeford has warned "the pandemic is not over" and has urged "everyone to continue to follow your rules and have your vaccines keep Wales safe".
Cases of COVID-19 have dropped significantly in Wales since the start of 2022, and more than two-thirds of people aged 12 and over have received a third dose a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Government.