No 10 Christmas party scandal ‘a very difficult backdrop’ for message encouraging smaller Christmas says Drakeford
The scandal around an alleged Christmas party at No 10 Downing Street has created a “very difficult backdrop” for the message that a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas this year, Mark Drakeford has said.
Wales’ First Minister however said that he hoped the people of Wales would “hear that message” and scale back on the celebrations to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
He said that Omicron cases were lower in Wales at the moment, creating a “pathway to Christmas” but that the wave of the virus would soon hit.
“The UK Government has now embarked on a major advertising campaign and their advertising campaign is in line with our message to people in Wales that a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas this year,” he told Sky News.
“We know that is going on against a very difficult backdrop because of everything that has gone on inside Downing Street and inside the UK Government.
“Despite all that I hope that people across the UK will hear that message. e are all of us facing a very difficult January. We can all help to deal with that And I hope that the message is that all governments across the United Kingdom are giving will be listened to and be acted upon.”
The First Minister added that restrictions on hospitality may be needed after Christmas to give people the confidence to return to pubs and restaurants.
Mark Drakeford said that at the moment people were “voting with their feet” and staying away from places they could at or drink as they were concerned about catching the Omicron variant.
Asked whether the zero restrictions on hospitality at the moment could change, he said “yes that could change”.
“I want hospitality to reopen after Christmas, but I want to do it in a way that gives customers the confidence to return to those places,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“We’re seeing today across the United Kingdom, people voting with their feet because of anxiety about Omicron. We’ll be talking with the sector about whether we need to reopen with additional protections so that people feel confident that if they do go out to a pub or a restaurant everything is being done to keep them safe.
“We’d go back to the repertoire of things we needed to use earlier in the pandemic. Some restrictions on the number of people who can meet. earing masks, when you’re moving around inside pubs and restaurants. Those sorts of things that people are used to and have successfully used in the past.”