What are the Covid rules in place for Wales this New Year's Eve?

With no restrictions in place as of December 26, what can people do in Wales for New Year's Eve? Credit: PA Images

From Sunday 26 December, people in Wales have had to abide to stricter rules as Welsh Government try to control the spread of Omicron.

Announcing the new restrictions before Christmas, the First Minister said "early action" was needed to try and protect people's health and businesses.

With nightclubs closed and two-metre social distancing, New Year's celebrations this time around will be scaled back. But what are the rules on socialising and what can we do as we head into 2022?

Night clubs have shut and large indoor events cannot go ahead.
  • Can I go to a nightclub for New Year's Eve?

New Year's Eve celebrations will be scaled back as all nightclubs in Wales are closed. Clubs had to shut their doors on December 26 and have not yet been given a date that they can resume business. This means there will not be the usual late-night club events to ring in the new year.

The Night Time Industries Association described the forced closure as a “devastating blow” to the industry and urged the UK Government to reintroduce the furlough scheme to help support the sector.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said £120 million would be available for nightclubs, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses affected by the measures.

  • Can I throw a party at my home instead?

There is no rule against gatherings at homes but there are limits on the amount of people who can attend. No more than 30 people are allowed to meet indoors and no more than 50 outdoors, in a private garden.

Welsh Government have urged everyone to take a lateral flow test before mixing with others. They have also encouraged people to meet outdoors, in gardens, if possible and to open windows if inside.

  • Are there other events taking place on New Year's Eve that I can go to?

Because only 30 people can meet indoors and 50 outdoors, large events will have been cancelled.

However, there is an exception for team sports with up to 50 people able to gather in addition to those taking part. There is also an exception for events involving children.

  • What about going out for a meal?

People can still go out for a meal on New Year's Eve as restaurants can remain open. However they must operate table service only - so no standing at the bar for a drink or two. Businesses will now have to take your contact details too, for contact tracing purposes.

New limits on the amount of people who can get together in places like restaurants, pubs and even cinemas have also been imposed. Only six people from different households can meet in these settings - both outside and inside.

  • Do I need to wear a face mask in public?

Face coverings have continued to be mandatory in public spaces like shops in Wales throughout much of the pandemic. However face coverings are now compulsory again, unless you are exempt, in hospitality settings too. You can only remove your mask when seated.

Two-metre social distancing has also been reintroduced in all public spaces and businesses, including restaurants and pubs.

Restaurants and pubs will be operating table service only. Credit: Pa Images
  • Are these rules the same in England?

Different parts of the UK have different rules in place. For example in England, people can still go to cubs and groups of any size can book tables at restaurants as no new restrictions will be introduced before the new year. This means it is important to know the rules for the country you are in.

  • When will the rules in Wales change again?

There has been no end date given for these restrictions but Welsh Government review them weekly.

Mark Drakeford has not ruled out introducing further restrictions in the new year but said he hoped these measures would flatten the infection rate.

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