Mark Drakeford has today (17/12/21) set out his plan to respond to the current delta variant and the new, fast-moving, easily-transmissible omicron variant, which is expected to be the dominant form of the virus in the UK by the end of the month. Noted as 'strong guidance' to support people across Wales through the Christmas period.
Then from the 27th December Wales will then introduce new restrictions, including for businesses and services. This will include a 2m rule on social distancing in offices and putting extra measures in place to protect customers and staff, such as one-way systems and physical barriers. Nightclubs will also close. These tougher restrictions are needed to help control the spread of omicron.
The First Minister has asked everyone to follow five steps for a safer Christmas, as he says the more people we see in the run-up to Christmas, the more opportunities the virus has to spread:
If you’re going out, going Christmas shopping or visiting people – Take a lateral flow test. If it’s positive – don’t go out.
Meeting outdoors is better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors make sure it’s well ventilated.
Space out your socialising – if you’ve got events arranged, please leave at least a day between them.
And don’t forget about social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands.
The regulations will also be changed to include a requirement to work from home wherever possible. After Christmas, on 27 December new legal restrictions will come into force, to help protect against the spread of the omicron variant. The Welsh Government has announced up to £60m will be available to support businesses affected by the new restrictions.