NIGHTCLUBS will close after Boxing Day and the two-metre social distancing will return in Wales as a response to concerns around the omicron variant of coronavirus.

Shops will also have to put in extra measures to protect staff and customers, such as one-way systems and physical barriers.

First Minister Mark Drakeford will set out a two-phase plan at a press conference Friday lunchtime to respond to the current delta variant and the new, fast-moving, easily-transmissible omicron variant, which is expected to be the dominant form of the virus in the UK by the end of the month.

He said: “Delta will continue to be the main cause of coronavirus infections in Wales up to Christmas. But we are seeing cases of omicron increasing rapidly every day in Wales – and across the UK.

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“We need a plan to keep us safe this Christmas and we need stronger measures to protect us afterwards, as we prepare for a large wave of omicron infections.

“Omicron poses a new threat to our health and safety. It is the most serious development in the pandemic to date.

“It is one we must take seriously. We will continue to put in place proportionate measures to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.

“This is a virus which thrives on human contact. Every contact we have is an opportunity for us to spread or catch the virus.”

The Welsh Government is also making £60 million available to support businesses affected by the new restrictions.

In the run up to Christmas, the Welsh Government is "strongly advising" people to follow these five measures to stay safe:

  • Get vaccinated – and if you’ve had your booster appointment, make attending your priority.
  • If you’re going out, going Christmas shopping or visiting people – flow before you go. Take a lateral flow test. If it’s positive – don’t go out.
  • Meeting outdoors is better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors make sure it’s well ventilated.
  • Space out your socialising – if you’ve got events arranged, please leave at least a day between them.
  • And don’t forget about social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing your hands.

The regulations will also be changed to include a requirement to work from home wherever possible.

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