The First Minister failed to say he would ease restrictions on sporting events and exercise at this week’s review of coronavirus rules and denied the public a roadmap out of restrictions.
Fans have been banned from attending sporting events and activities since rules were reintroduced just after Christmas, and there are limits on the number of people who can exercise outdoors.
Over the Christmas period, there were farcical scenes at Caerphilly Rugby Club where only 50 people were allowed to watch the game outside, whereas hundreds were able to congregate indoors to watch it.
In First Minister’s Questions today, Leader of the Opposition, Andrew RT Davies MS, called on Mark Drakeford to abandon rules that have made “activities such as ParkRun practically impossible to organise”, stating the harshest rules in the UK were in Wales.
Mr Davies added that Scotland are set to remove rules on crowds at sporting events, in England there are no rules, and Northern Ireland is capping crowds at 50% capacity, making Wales the British outlier.
Drakeford was unable to answer questions on when fans can return to spectator sports despite the Six Nations rugby tournament being only next month.
It has been reported that the Welsh Rugby Union have been looking at a range of options ahead of this year’s Six Nations, including playing Wales’ home games in England in light of the tough rules – a move which would be a devastating blow for our economy.
When asked by the Welsh Conservative leader for the party’s demand for a roadmap out of restrictions, with criteria for scrapping limits on freedoms, Mr Drakeford decided not to offer a date to the people of Wales.
Commenting afterwards, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies MS said:
“The Labour administration in Cardiff Bay is once again the outlier in the United Kingdom with overzealous restrictions on sport and exercise in Wales – two things which not only boost people’s physical health, but also their mental health.
“The First Minister kept saying that he wants evidence that activities are safe before restoring freedoms to the people of Wales. Surely, they should be proven to be dangerous before our rights to go about everyday actions are taken away by ministers?
“The simple truth is Labour’s response to Omicron has been proven to be a mistake and they’ve decided to keep the strictest possible restrictions in place to save face, no matter the consequences for the finances of businesses and the mental wellbeing of people across the nation.
“The absurd restrictions on sports and exercise must be scrapped on Friday.”