Wales is set to see a return to tighter Covid restrictions after Christmas following an increase in Omicron cases in the UK.
The Prime Minister announced a mix of advice for the Christmas period as well as new regulations to be followed under a “two-phase plan”.
Nightclubs will be closed from December 27 under the new rules, although the Welsh government has announced a £ 60million fund to support all businesses affected by the restrictions.
From the same date, two-meter social distancing will be mandatory in offices, and measures including one-way systems and physical barriers will be introduced in businesses to protect customers and staff.
The regulations will also be amended to include the obligation to work from home where possible.
Until December 27, the Welsh government is encouraging people to take five steps, including getting vaccinated, making sure they test negative on the lateral flow test before going shopping or meeting people, meet in well-ventilated areas – preferably outdoors, space out socialization to allow testing days in between and respect social distancing, wear a face cover and wash your hands.
He also urges people to reduce contact with others over the next few days, especially if Christmas plans call for seeing older or more vulnerable people.
Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘The Delta will continue to be the leading cause of coronavirus infections in Wales until Christmas. But we are seeing cases of Omicron increasing rapidly every day in Wales – and across the UK.
“We need a plan to keep us safe this Christmas and we need tougher measures to protect ourselves afterwards, as we prepare for a big wave of infections at Omicron.
“Omicron represents a new threat to our health and safety. This is the most serious development of the pandemic to date.
“This is an issue we need to take seriously. We will continue to put in place proportionate measures to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.
“It’s a virus that grows through human contact. Every contact we have is an opportunity for us to spread or catch the virus.”
The changes for business come with the announcement that up to £ 60million will be available to support those affected by the new measures.
He added: “This year, a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas. The fewer people we see, the less chance we have of catching or transmitting the virus.
“Please enjoy Christmas with your loved ones – and consider meeting larger circles of friends when the threat posed by the Omicron variant is over.
“I also want to thank the thousands of people who will be working this Christmas to keep us safe – especially all of those who have canceled plans to work in vaccination centers in Wales to increase our protection against this terrible virus. “