Covid 19 - Wales - the 'Storm of Omicron'
Prepare for the “storm of Omicron” is the message from Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford.
The Welsh Assembly is to back restrictions to combat the rising levels of the Omicron variant. Such measures are to include; the closure of Nightclubs in Wales from Boxing Day and social distancing to be reintroduced in shops and workplaces. Restrictions are to include, reintroducing the two-metre rule in workplaces, limiting numbers in supermarkets, reintroducing one-way systems and tighter controls at check-outs. Businesses will also be required to allow employees to work from home wherever possible. A link to the announcement can be found here: https://gov.wales/new-advice-keep-wales-safe-christmas
Drakeford told the BBC that the Welsh Assembly was not ruling out reintroducing the "rule of six" in hospitality venues after Christmas. He has urged families to have small Christmas celebrations and to avoid meeting “wider circle of friends”. But, in a similar fashion to the Scottish First Minister, Drakeford has advised Welsh people that these measures are not legislation, but guidance.
Business lobby group the CBI has stated in response that the fresh restrictions on companies were a "big setback".
The Welsh Omicorn numbers are believed to be the lowest in the UK, but Public Health Wales expects a "rapid increase over the coming days and weeks is expected", believing Wales is only a short distance the other UK hot spots.
In order to support affected businesses, the Welsh Aessmbly has set aside £60m to help business who have been affected by the restrictions.
The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the support, but demanded "urgent clarity" on whether it would be available to businesses who have experienced a loss in trade as a result of Christmas booking cancellations.
What will the English government do?