First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS
The Cabinet has moved to a weekly review of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020. This is in response to the rapidly evolving public health situation following the arrival and spread of the omicron variant across the UK.
The latest public health data suggests cases of coronavirus have started to fall back from their very high levels. A wide range of information, including case rates, wastewater surveys, the results of the ONS infection survey and hospital admissions data, shows positive signs of recovery, although levels of infections in the community continue to be high.
More than 1.75m people – two-thirds of people aged 12 and over – have received a booster or third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
We can now look more confidently to the future and plan to start gradually removing the alert level two restrictions. We are today setting out a plan to return to alert level zero. As we have done previously, we will start with relaxing protections outdoors.
We will make one immediate change – from tomorrow, the number of people who can be present at outdoor events will rise from 50 to 500. This does not include those participating in a team sport event, meaning 500 spectators can be present
If conditions allow, the alert level two restrictions will continue to be removed in a phased approach.
From Friday 21 January, all outdoor activities will move to alert level zero:
- We will remove limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities.
- Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events.
- Outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without additional reasonable measures, such as the rule of six and table service requirements.
- The Covid Pass will continue to be required for entry to larger outdoor events.
Provided the downward trend continues, from Friday 28 January, we will move to alert level zero for all indoor activities and premises.
- Nightclubs will be able to 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.
All other alert level zero rules, including those for self-isolation for all those who test positive for Covid and requirements to wear face-coverings for most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.
By Friday 11 February, we will have returned to the three-weekly review cycle. A review will carried out by 10 February. All remaining protections in place at alert level zero will be reviewed and any changes announced on 11 February.
We will continue to closely monitor the public health situation, especially in schools to ensure we can continue to support face-to-face learning for students.
This remains a fast-moving and volatile variant and the public health situation could change suddenly. I urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and all the measures to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe. If you have not had your booster vaccine yet, please make that a priority.