Omicron: Nightclubs to shut in Wales after Boxing Day
Nightclubs will close in Wales after Boxing Day in response to the Omicron variant of coronavirus
bbc.com – The Welsh government said it will also impose restrictions on businesses, including social distancing in offices, from 27 December.
First Minister Mark Drakeford called for people to have a smaller Christmas and avoid meeting “wider circles of friends”. It comes as the UK recorded a record number of Covid cases for a second day. The number of Omicron cases in Wales rose by 33 to 95 on Thursday.
Public Health Wales expects a “rapid increase over the coming days and weeks is expected”, and officials believe Wales is a few days behind other UK hotspots.
Business lobby group the CBI said the fresh restrictions on companies were a “big setback”.
Announcing a two-phased plan, the Welsh government said it was giving “strong guidance” for people to leave a day between social events and to meet outdoors over Christmas.
But from 27 December new legal restrictions will come into force.
They include a two metre rule in offices and extra rules for businesses and services to protect customers and staff, including one-way systems and physical barriers.
Businesses will also be required to allow people to work from home wherever possible. The decision to shut nightclubs means they will be closed for New Year’s Eve.
Welsh ministers say they will make £60m available for firms impacted by the new restrictions.
The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the cash but demanded “urgent clarity” on whether it would be available to firms that have seen a loss of bookings “at an alarming rate”.
Mr Drakeford said Omicron “poses a new threat to our health and safety”.
“It is the most serious development in the pandemic to date,” he said.
He said a smaller Christmas “is a safer Christmas”.
“Please enjoy Christmas with your nearest and dearest – and think about meeting up with wider circles of friends when the threat posed by the omicron variant has passed over,” he said.