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Wales won’t follow England in ditching face masks but phased easing of restrictions will continue says First Minister

20 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales. Picture by the Welsh Government

Wales won’t follow England in ditching face masks and compulsory self-isolation but a planned easing of Covid restrictions on outdoor and indoor activities will continue, the First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford confirmed that Wales will complete the move to alert level zero on 28 January, unless the public health situation changes for the worse. The latest health data suggested Wales has passed the peak of the omicron wave and that there had been a reduction in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that measures such as face masks, working from home and vaccine passes will end next week in England, with compulsory self-isolation due to end in March.

But Mark Drakeford said that self-isolation rules for everyone who tests positive for Covid and face-covering rules, which apply in most public indoor places, will remain in force in Wales after 28 January.

However, the Welsh Government will review all the measures at alert level zero at the next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations on 10 February. In the meantime, the phased plan to gradually relax the alert level two measures and move back to alert level zero will continue.

“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,” Mark Drakeford said.

“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.”


The restrictions

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.

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.

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Grayham Jones
2 years ago

Wales have had it right from the start it’s time for a New Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

2 years ago

The one time in this past two years where you could argue England got it right was the start of February 2021 to mid-July 2021.

This is the period immediately after the most recent variant, when people’s natural caution plus high numbers vaccinated meant that businesses could open up much more and there could be a mini-recovery.

Wales was absolutely correct based on information at the time to enforce tougher restrictions in the winter but this later winter to early summer period has historically been the moment to take away restrictions and seems likely to be that again.

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