‘Irrational’: Plaid Cymru MS calls on Welsh Gov to end ban on sports fans attending small events
A Plaid Cymru MS has called on the Welsh Government to end the ban on sports fans attending smaller events, calling it “irrational”.
Mabon ap Gwynfor has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford asking for the science behind the outdoor spectator sports ban to be published.
On Boxing Day 2021, the Welsh Government introduced Covid-19 regulations in Wales faced a surge in infections due to the Omicron variant.
The rules mean that no more than 50 people can come together to watch any sporting events in Wales which effectively forces games to be held behind closed doors.
In a letter to the First Minister, Dwyfor Meirionnydd Senedd Member, Mabon ap Gwynfor, said: “It is important that appropriate steps are taken to protect the public health of the population – namely wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, ventilating indoor spaces, and regular hand washing. Controlling large sporting events, where thousands of people travel on public transport and congregate in pubs and other venues is understandable.
“However, I fear that the suspension of relatively modest public sports, such as Welsh football leagues, has damaged public credibility in government regulations. It seems irrational and unreasonable that people cannot watch their local footy team play, but can go to the pub to watch the Premier League.
“One of the reasons Covid infections spread in the winter is due to people meeting indoors. Any activity that gets people outdoors should therefore be encouraged, especially in the winter. Going out and socialising outdoors also benefits people’s mental health.
“I therefore ask the government to urgently reconsider the rules and allow spectators back outdoors to support their teams – a step that will be beneficial in the fight against the infection.”
‘Keen to dismantle’
Speaking at a press conference today, the Health Minister Eluned Morgan told reporters: “I can assure you that we are keen to dismantle any restrictions as soon as we possibly can. We think it’s our legal obligation to do that. But we are in a situation where the pandemic is very much still with us.
“We are keeping a very close eye on the statistics that are coming in at the moment. We’re hoping that we’re seeing a stabilisation in those numbers.
“Clearly I think it would be difficult to dismantle things if the numbers are continuing to rise. But certainly when it comes to the Six Nations we think we’ve still got some time before those decisions need to be made. That is early February. There’s still a bit of time for us to make those decisions.
“We are already discussing this in cabinet but as I say it’s unlikely that we’ll see an easing of those restrictions until we see at least a levelling off and are coming down from the peak from these extremely high levels that we’re seeing at the moment.
“Let’s be clear about where we’re at in this process. We are seeing the highest levels of cases that we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, still in our communities today and now would not be a sensible time for us to ease those restrictions.”
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