Andrew RT Davies slams ‘drip, drip’ of new Omicron restrictions by Welsh Government
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has criticised the “drip, drip” of new restrictions announced by the Welsh Government in the run-up to Christmas.
First Minister Mark Drakeford had previously stuck to a three week period of reviewing restrictions on Covid-19, but due to the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant announced changes both on Friday and today.
Andrew RT Davies conceded that it was a “fast-moving” situation and a “difficult situation for decision-makers” but that a number of announcements spread over many days “is no way to do things”.
“The drip, drip effect of the rumour mill is unhelpful and unsettling to many, particularly at such an important time of year for families across the country,” he said.
“The last review by Labour was only on Friday and families, workers, businesses and organisations deserve clear communication from governments of all colours ahead of the Christmas and New Year period – not poorly timed releases that sets social media racing.
“Welsh Conservatives remain of the belief that the imposition of restrictions must be based on the strongest possible data, and as a last resort to protect the NHS.
“Any businesses and sporting organisations hit by these new restrictions must receive full financial support from Labour ministers to cover any losses.”
In a press conference on Friday, Mark Drakeford announced that new restrictions would be introduced on 27 December.
This will include a 2-metre 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.
Today, the Welsh Government said that sporting events will be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day in Wales to help control the spread of the new omicron variant.
The Firts Minister said over the weekend that some extra restrictions on hospitality are “inevitable” after Christmas, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford told Politics Wales they would be looking at the same sorts of measures that were in existence during previous waves of the pandemic.
“We will be working this week on the rules about how hospitality will reopen after Christmas,” he said.
“I think it’s inevitable that when hospitality reopens we will need to build some extra defences into the way they operate otherwise people won’t turn up there. That’s the thing to remember – the reason we’re doing this is for business reasons as well as health reasons.
“It’s normally as it has been for other settings looking back to the sorts of measures we had earlier in the pandemic. So people will remember, not so long ago, that if you went to a restaurant your details were collected so they could be used for track and trace. That you ordered from where you say, that you wore a mask when you moved around, not when you’re eating and drinking. If you were moving around the restaurant, you wore a mask when you were moving around.”