WELSH political parties have commented on the latest Covid-19 restrictions following the First Ministers press conference today (December 22).

During the conference, Mark Drakeford, issued new regulations and guidelines for Wales which will come into force from 6am on Boxing Day (Dec 27).

The regulations include keeping 2 metres distance, wearing a face mask indoors and within hospitality settings, all nightclubs to close and the return of table service, rule of six and recording contact details in the hospitality and entertainment sector.

The First Minister also placed a limit on the number of people who can attend events, for indoor events no more than 30 may attend, for those in outdoor settings, the number limited to 50.

Commenting on Labour’s latest COVID-19 restrictions in Wales, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies MS said: “It’s been once again disappointing to see the Labour Government announce another set of rules firstly to the press rather than the Senedd. The drip-drip of information over the past few days is no way to administer such significant changes to people’s lives, especially when we are talking about restrictions that nobody wanted to see return.

“The introduction of restrictions on businesses – some of which will be losing out on custom during their busiest time of year – will be hugely damaging for firms, particularly in the sports and hospitality sectors, and it’s imperative they receive substantial financial support to survive and protect jobs.

“At the present time, it’s clear the government’s reasoning for the return of these restrictions is due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the extraordinary pressures that puts on highly valued workforces from public services such as the NHS to supply chains.

“Given this concern, we welcome the changes to isolation rules for those deemed as close contacts which will limit damage to personal and economic wellbeing, but ministers must also urgently review the 10-day rule in light of the latest advice from the UK Health and Safety Agency.

“Providing booster jabs to the population at great speed remains essential. Sadly, there are regional inconsistencies with some vaccination centres closed on certain days during the Christmas period, which simply doesn’t match the urgency of the situation or ministerial rhetoric.

“In light of questioning by my colleague Russell George in the Senedd this afternoon, it’s important the First Minister and Welsh Government also publish the figures of people in Welsh hospitals with the Omicron variant.

“This is crucial information, and this should be done on a daily basis. Full transparency when it comes to the data and advice being used to underpin such decisions is vital for understanding the situation and for public confidence, and this should be published as a matter of routine alongside announcements.

“Moving forward, we will also need to have a serious national conversation on how we learn to live with this virus and the increasing demands we, as a nation, put on our national health service.”

Welsh Liberal Democrats Respond to Welsh Government COVID-19 Update:

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have responded to today’s COVID-19 update from the Welsh Government by calling for greater clarification on the financial assistance made available for the hospitality, nightlife and tourism industry stating that the announcements due by Finance Minister Vaughan Gething should have been made today while the Senedd was recalled. The Party has also called for more money to be placed into Test, Trace, Protect.

Commenting Party Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “There remain questions over today’s announcement and the support for businesses announced. Given the difficulty many businesses have said table service only will present them, we need reassurance this support is adequate.

“I would also like to see clarification on whether any of this funding can be accessed retrospectively, allowing businesses to receive support for businesses that has been lost already in the last few weeks as footfall dropped. I am also disappointed to see we will not get this clarification until tomorrow. Finance Minister Vaughan Gething should have made his statement today while the Senedd has been recalled.

“I would also urge the Government to put more money into Test, Trace, Protect to allow them to deal with the large increase in cases the Government is predicting.

“We also need to protect our NHS in the long run, making sure it is resilient enough to handle future variant outbreaks. A key part of this will be preventing staff shortages and staff leaving the profession which is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats are continuing to call for a minimum of a 6 per cent pay rise for NHS staff, instead of the Welsh Government’s below-inflation pay rise of 3 per cent.”