Six Nations crowd ban will stay in place unless Covid cases fall, Health Minister suggests
The Welsh Government’s Health Minister has suggested that a ban on crowds at Wales’ home Six Nations matches will stay in place unless Covid cases begin to fall.
Eluned Morgan was responding to reports that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce that rules on the sizes of crowds at sporting events will be relaxed in Scotland.
Morgan said the Welsh Government is “keen to dismantle any restrictions as soon as we possibly can” but added that “we are in a situation where the pandemic is very much still with us”.
The minister said it would be “difficult” ease restrictions “if the numbers are continuing to rise”.
On the Six Nations she said that “we’ve still got some time before those decisions need to be made” and suggested it would be in early February.
In Wales, fans are banned from all sporting events and activities, such as running groups, can take place outdoors but are limited to a maximum of 50.
England has no restrictions and Northern Ireland caps crowds at 50% capacity and 5,000 people.
The Welsh Government have faced criticism of their crowd ban, with the WRU saying that they were looking at taking Wales’ home Six Nations matches to England, and conflict with Chester FC whose stadium lies mostly on Wales’ side of the border.
‘Can assure you’
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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