The need for Covid Passes at large venues including nightclubs will be dropped from Friday 18 February, and people will be able to enter some public places sans face covering 10 days later, the Welsh First Minister revealed.
Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) chief executive Michael Kill said: “The relaxation of these restrictions will see businesses finally able to plan for the future with some level of certainty.
Businesses had welcomed the announcement, with many suggesting the unfounded restrictions had gone on “way too long”, according to Kill.
Drakeford, who is currently isolating with coronavirus, said on Thursday 10 February, that with increasing numbers of people vaccinated and boosted, the Government was “confident” Covid rates were falling and Wales could look forward to “brighter times ahead”.
It's not over yet
He continued: “We can start to gradually and carefully remove some of the remaining protections we have in place. But we are not removing all the measures at once because the pandemic is not over yet.
“To keep Wales safe we need to remain cautious and do everything we can to reassure those who feel most at risk. We will keep some important protections in place, including face coverings in health and social care settings, on public transport and in all shops. We will also keep self-isolation rules in place.”
The legal requirement to wear face coverings in all remaining settings could be lifted by the end of March.
Kill said: "It will not go without notice that the actions of the Welsh Government are still subject to a call by our members for evidence to substantiate the closure of nightclubs over and above other businesses."
Reopening in Wales
He added: "A recent release of Freedom of Information request submitted by the NTIA will be released shortly, and will present some evidential challenges for the Welsh Government within the public inquiry into this crisis."
On Friday 28 January, nightclubs reopened as Wales began moving into alert level 0. This completed the Welsh Government’s phased lifting of alert level 2 protections, which were implemented on Boxing Day as the Omicron Covid variant swept through the country.
Covid Passes proved very damaging for Welsh hospitality. In Mid-November, late-night businesses reported a 26% drop in trade since the rollout, which was costing businesses around £398 per week.
The poll, which included data from more than 100 businesses within the Welsh night-time economy, showed Covid Pass implementation could cost businesses an additional £21,000 in operating costs per year.