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Welsh leader says new Covid borders are needed to tackle ‘brewing storm’ | Wales

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Nightclubs in Wales will be closed, social distancing in offices reintroduced and security measures in shops and pubs put in place immediately after Christmas in anticipation of the Omicron variant ‘storm’.

The Labor-led Welsh government said on Friday it could also introduce restrictions that would affect sporting events such as the Welsh Grand National in Chepstow as well as major rugby and football matches.

Representatives from the nightlife economy and the hospitality industry said the rules, which are due to go into effect on December 27, will result in business closings and job losses.

But Prime Minister Mark Drakeford insisted the measures were proportionate, fair and necessary to tackle a “looming storm”. He revealed that some in his cabinet wanted new rules introduced before Christmas.

Throughout the holiday season, the government “strongly advises” people to adopt safety measures such as doing a lateral flow test before going out, but does not make it a legal requirement.

However, as soon as Boxing Day ends, nightclubs will have to close, a 2-meter social distancing rule will be introduced for offices, and stores will have to put in place measures such as one-way systems, physical barriers and customer limits. Numbers.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday morning, Drakeford said pubs, bars and restaurants would be allowed to stay open, but said: “It’s in the nature of the nightclub that people are there. make it to be up close and personal. We know that Omicron is particularly susceptible to lead to super-spreader events. “

Drakeford said there will be an announcement Monday on how sporting events will work and, depending on the situation after Christmas, there may be other general restrictions such as limits on the number of people who can assemble.

The Welsh government will make £ 60million available to help businesses affected by the rule changes, but Drakeford said it was “unfair” for the Treasury to decide whether more UK funds should be released for to help.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “We are stunned by the actions of the Welsh government. The constant targeting of the nightclub sector and the late night economy has gone too far. We have been placed in an untenable position and will now have no choice but to fight. “

Cerys Furlong, of the Wales Independent Restaurant Collective, said it looked like déjà vu for the industry. “It’s pretty dark,” she said. “It is clear that the Welsh government does not have enough resources or financial leverage to sufficiently support the businesses which are currently suffering from a cash drain. We need the UK government to act now to prevent massive job losses. “

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