Sports fans have been given the long-awaited green light to return in their thousands to live events in Wales.
From Monday, June 7 , large outdoor gatherings and events – such as football and rugby matches, concerts and sporting activities – can accommodate up to 4,000 non-seated and 10,000 seated people.
This means that parkrun events and other organized running groups can also resume activity.
The Welsh Government has said that all organizers planning events and activities must carry out a risk assessment and also put measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including social distancing.
This latest announcement from the Welsh Government comes as First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed Wales will follow a gradual move to coronavirus alert level one, with outdoor events opening first.
This opens the door for fans to attend the Six Nations Under-20s, which take place exclusively in Cardiff between June 19 and July 13 at Cardiff Arms Park.
Three of Welsh rugby’s four regions are in action for the PRO14 Rainbow Cup final round on the weekend of June 12 – the first weekend after the rule change – but only two are at home, to be followed by a ‘ North v South final in Treviso, Italy a week later.
The Ospreys host Benetton on Saturday June 12 at Brewery Field in Bridgend and the Scarlets host Edinburgh on Sunday June 13 at Parc y Scarlets. Although these regions may welcome fans, it will be at their discretion and they may decide to postpone the return of fans until the new season given that they will have a little over a week’s notice to prepare. The Dragons take on Leinster in Dublin on Friday June 11.
As far as football is concerned, the Women of Wales host Scotland in a friendly match at Parc y Scarlets on Tuesday, June 15. News on whether fans will be able to attend will come directly from the Football Association of Wales.
Swansea City, Cardiff City and Newport County will all resume operations when the new season begins on the weekend of August 7.
The latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in Wales on sporting events will mean fans will be able to return to live matches in droves for the first time since March 2020.
Other rule changes coming from June 7 include up to 30 people will be able to meet outside in Wales, while respecting social distancing,
Ministers are expected to review the public health situation before June 21 to determine whether indoor events can resume. Government officials say a two-step approach allows more people to be vaccinated.
Other changes to indoor activities to consider later in June include increasing the number of indoor events and the reopening of rinks.
Drakeford said: “I want to thank everyone in Wales for all they have done to control the spread of coronavirus and keep rates low. The emergence of the delta variant (also known as Indian variant) shows that the pandemic is not over yet and all of us must continue to take measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
“The risk of infection is significantly lower outdoors than indoors. That’s why we’re phasing in the changes in this three-week cycle. This will allow more people to enjoy outdoor events. and enjoy the Welsh summer, while we continue to roll out the vaccination program to all adults.
“We will review the public health situation in a few weeks to see if we can continue to ease restrictions and restart indoor events.”
It comes after several pilot crowd events have been staged at Welsh sports matches in recent weeks, with a few test events yet to take place.
- The Newport County League Two play-off semi-final against Forest Green Rovers at Rodney Parade on May 18, where around 900 fans were in attendance.
- Four days later, Swansea City fans returned to the Liberty Stadium for the first time in 14 months to see their side beat Barnsley and progress to the Championship play-off final at Wembley. Around 3,000 Swans fans were in attendance on May 22 at the Liberty.
- Glamorgan v Lancashire at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff from June 3-6 will host between 750 and 1,000 spectators.
- Wales football fans are set to return to their first live match on Saturday June 5, when 6,500 spectators will watch Gareth Bale and Co. in action as they take on Albania in the final match before the start of the Euro 2020.
- The Fishguard Triathlon is also held on June 11 and 12, with participants registered only at Fishguard and St David’s.