HOSPITALITY and nightclubs in Wales will be able to return to normality before the end of January, with restrictions on sports fans also being scrapped in time for the Six Nations.
Last week, first minister Mark Drakeford announced the rolling back of Covid restrictions in Wales.
Here are the answers to some of the key questions about Wales’ route out of lockdown:
What are the rule changes?
Saturday, January 15: The number of people who can attend outdoor events rose from 50 to 500.
Friday, January 21: Crowds allowed to return to sporting events, meaning that Wales can now see full houses for the Six Nations, and no limits on attending outdoor events.
Friday, January 28: Nightclubs can re-open and hospitality allowed to operate normally, although Covid passes will still be required for large events, plus cinemas, nightclubs and theatres. Working from home no longer a legal requirement.
Thursday, February 10: Wales returns to a three-week review cycle as the country is at alert level zero.
How does this affect the Six Nations?
In theory, the Six Nations should now be close to being back to normal.
There will be no limits on crowds in Wales as of the first game in Cardiff – against Scotland on February 12 – and no limits on the number of people meeting in pubs and hospitality settings.
However, Covid passes will continue to be needed for large-scale events.
When asked on Friday whether the rules were being changed because of the Six Nations, Mr Drakeford, said his cabinet “responds to other pressures” and base decisions on the data, and that the Welsh Government took the decision to impose restrictions to protect public health and the NHS.
Why are restrictions being eased?
The first minister said that there were “early positive signs” that the Covid situation in Wales is improving.
He says that the data will be reviewed regularly but is outlining how restrictions will be returned to alert level zero.
Mr Drakeford pointed to data showing that infections appear to have passed their peak in Wales.
He says that protective measures in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have meant there have been lower infection levels than in England.
Mr Drakeford said: “We’re 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.”
What does this mean for schools?
The new announcements means no change for schools
In the Welsh Government’s Coronavirus Control Plan for Wales: autumn and winter 2021 update, it was announced that, despite the challenges the winter period, the Welsh Government expected schools, alongside childcare and play settings, colleges and universities, to remain open.