First Minister Mark Drakeford has set out a two-phase plan to control the spread of coronavirus in Wales – with measures stepped up after Boxing Day.
Welsh Government is issuing strong guidance to support people across Wales through the Christmas period but will not adjust the current rules until December 27.
At that point Welsh Government will 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.
They said these tougher restrictions are needed to help control the spread of omicron which is leading to a surge in cases in England and Scotland.
The Welsh Government has announced up to £60m will be available to support businesses affected by the new restrictions.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Delta will continue to be the main cause of coronavirus infections in Wales up to 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 stronger measures to protect us afterwards, as we prepare for a large wave of omicron infections.
“Omicron poses a new threat to our health and safety. It is the most serious development in the pandemic to date.
“It is one we must take seriously. We will continue to put in place proportionate measures to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.
“This is a virus which thrives on human contact. Every contact we have is an opportunity for us to spread or catch the virus.”
The First Minister will today urge everyone to follow five simple 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.
- Get vaccinated – and if you’ve had your booster appointment, please make attending your priority.
- If you’re going out, going Christmas shopping or visiting people – flow before you go. 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 First Minister added: “This year a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas. The fewer people we see, the less chance we have of catching or passing on the virus.
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“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.
“I also want to thank the many thousands of people who will be working this Christmas to keep us safe – especially all those who have cancelled their plans to work in the vaccination centres across Wales to increase our protection against this awful virus.”
Ian Price, CBI Welsh Director, said: “As covid cases continue to rise its only right the government prioritises public health, but fresh restrictions are a big setback for businesses, particularly for those in hospitality. Throughout the pandemic firms have been implementing a number of measures to keep their staff and customers safe.
“It’s positive to see the government providing new financial support to tide firms over this difficult winter period. The Government is right to urgently promote booster jabs and we urge all firms to promote uptake with staff. Taking these steps now will ensure we keep our economy open as is feasibly safe to do so in the coming weeks.”