Nightclubs to close and social distancing enforced at work in Wales heaping pressure on Boris over Covid restrictions

WALES will close nightclubs and enforce social distancing in offices after Christmas – heaping pressure on Boris Johnson over Omicron restrictions.

The Welsh "two-phase plan" to beat the Covid variant will see two-metre social distancing in businesses from December 27.

Nightclubs will be closed under the new rules, although the Welsh Government has announced a £60million fund to support any businesses affected by the restrictions.

From the same date, measures including one-way systems and physical barriers will be introduced in workplaces to protect customers and staff.

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

Officials are also urging people to reduce contact with others over the coming days, especially if Christmas plans include seeing older or more vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, England has the most relaxed rules in the UK at the moment, with the introduction of new "Plan B" restrictions following a vote by MPs in Parliament.

The measures, including Covid passes for entry into nightclubs and other venues, passed the Commons with the support of Labour, which is in favour of tighter controls.

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As of Wednesday, it is now mandatory for clubs and large venues to check the Covid status of visitors over the age of 18.

People will have to show proof of being double-vaccinated or of a negative test.

Face coverings have also been made compulsory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport, and people have been told to work from home if they can.

Boris Johnson has also ramped up the booster jab campaign with a new target meaning people 18 and over will be able to get their third jabs from this week.

In order to limit the spread of Covid as Christmas approaches, England's guidance is that people should work from home if they can. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go in to work – but is encouraged to consider taking lateral flow tests regularly.

From Friday, the Scottish Government said businesses across the country are legally required to take "reasonable measures" to minimise transmission of coronavirus as Omicron cases continue to rise.

Its advice includes a return to one-way systems in premises, app-based ordering, and the use of screens at service points.

Five steps before Christmas

Until December 27, the Welsh Government is encouraging people to follow five steps:

Get vaccinated

Negative lateral flow test before going shopping or meeting people

Meeting in well-ventilated areas – preferably outdoors

Spacing out socialising to allow test days in between

Adhering to social distancing, wearing a face covering and washing hands

By law in Scotland, everyone over the age of 12 must wear face coverings indoors, unless exempt, and the new guidance stresses that masks should be worn inside all businesses.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged people across Scotland to limit their socialising to three households before and after Christmas to help combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

She stressed she is "not asking anyone to cancel Christmas", but advised people to limit their socialising either side of the holiday.

Ms Sturgeon added that it is merely advice and not a legal requirement.

It was also announced that allowing staff to work from home where possible will again become a legal duty on employers.

Ms Sturgeon said other announcements for businesses include "a return to the kind of protections in place at the start of the pandemic" to avoid crowding, such as physical distancing and table service in bars.

Care home visits have also been limited to two households, while all over-18s can book a booster jab appointment online.

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