Rule-of-six returns to Wales as government reintroduces tighter Covid rules from Boxing Day

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First Minister Mark Drakeford speaks during a Welsh Government press conference in Cardiff setting out coronavirus restrictions for Wales (PA Wire)
First Minister Mark Drakeford speaks during a Welsh Government press conference in Cardiff setting out coronavirus restrictions for Wales (PA Wire)

The rule-of-six and other tougher restrictions will return in Wales from 6am Boxing Day to curb the spread of Omicron.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the country was moving to a Level Two alert which will bring back the rule-of-six in hospitality venues, reintroduce two-metre social distancing in public venues and require table service in pubs and bars.

Face coverings will be required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated and nightclubs will be forced to close.

In addition, large events will be banned both indoors and outdoors with the maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event 30 and 50 outdoors.

Exceptions include team sports, where up to 50 spectators will be able to gather, in addition to those taking part, and events involving children.

“We are facing a very serious situation in Wales. A wave of infections caused by the new, fast-moving and very-infectious Omicron variant is headed our way," Mr Drakeford told a press conference.

"This new form of coronavirus could infect large numbers of people in Wales, disrupting daily lives and businesses, and could cause an increase in the number of people who need hospital care in the coming weeks.

"We will do everything we can to protect people’s health and livelihoods in Wales – this means taking early action to try and control its spread.”

Mr Drakeford said £120m would be available for affected businesses such as nightclubs, bars and retail – double a £60m package announced last week.

While the Welsh Government will not be making new rules about mixing in people’s private homes, guidance will be issued to limit the number of visitors.

He added that both vaccination coverage and lateral flow testing “will help to keep us safe at home without the need for new rules and regulations about mixing at home”.

The Senedd has been recalled and Mr Drakeford will make a virtual statement to members from 1.30pm on Wednesday.

It comes as the number of confirmed Omicron cases in Wales grew by 204 on Tuesday to 640.

Workers in Wales could already be fined £60 for going to their office under new coronavirus laws if they are able to work from home.

The Welsh Government has amended legislation to make attending a workplace unnecessarily a criminal offence amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

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