RESTRICTIONS in place in Wales as part of the fight against Covid-19 are set to change again – and it looks to be good news for sports fans and party-goers.
Addressing the nation earlier today (Friday, January 14), first minister Mark Drakeford revealed that the recent measures put in place in an attempt to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of covid have helped “flatten the curve of infections”.
This, coupled with efforts to provide every fit and healthy person with an invitation to get their booster vaccine, has allowed the Welsh Government to put plans in place to loosen restrictions once again.
The news is likely to come as a welcome piece of news for sports organisations and hospitality venues in Newport, Gwent, and the wider region.
Since mid-December, restrictions have been placed on crowd numbers at sporting venues, which all but forced games to be played behind closed doors.
As for hospitality, nightclubs have been closed in Wales since December 27, and while these traders missed out on a potentially lucrative payday on New Year’s Eve, they are now just weeks away from being able to reopen.
Nightclubs reopening in Wales: Everything you need to know
From Friday, January 28, nightclubs in Wales will be able to reopen to the general public once again.
As part of this, the rule of six, two-metre physical distancing requirements, and table service at pubs and restaurants will no longer be mandatory.
Ahead of reopening, venues, along with all businesses and employers are required to undertake a covid specific risk assessment, to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
And, as before, anyone looking to attend a nightclub will have to provide a covid pass as a condition for entry.
What we know as fan restrictions at sporting venues lifted
Sports fans in Wales won‘t have to wait as long as the nightclubs to return to their haunts, with restrictions on crowd numbers set to be lifted on January 21.
Nationally, this will be a major boost ahead of the Six Nations, but locally, it means that Newport County and the Dragons will be able to welcome fans back to Rodney Parade.
The Dragons will be the first of the local sides to be able to allow fans back in, when Italian side Benetton arrive on January 28, before the posts are swapped out, and County welcome Barrow the following day.
No limits will be placed on outdoor activities, but as before, covid passes will be required to attend games with a large scale crowd expected.
What has been said about the changes?
Confirming news of the upcoming rule changes, Mr Drakeford said: “We able to do it (lift restrictions) only because of the amazing hard work and effort of everyone else who have once again followed all of the rules and taken all of the steps to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
“The enormous efforts of all those working in the vaccination centres, in our NHS, in our public services, in shops and in businesses who have done so much to protect us fom this latest wave of that awful virus.
“Thank you – thank you to everyone who has done so much to help to keep us safe.
“It doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.”