On December 22, the First Minister Mark Drakeford announced restrictions for businesses and strengthened guidance for private households following the acceleration of the omicron variant in Wales.
The alert level measures will come into effect from Boxing Day and will see the return of:
- A general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces
- The rule of six in regulated premises including hospitality, cinemas and theatres
- Table service in licensed premises
- Face coverings in hospitality settings apart from when seated
- A limit to the number of people who can attend indoor and outdoor events.
Following the announcement, Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “The return of further restrictions will be yet another challenge for businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, since the emergence of the omicron variant.
“While these measures come as a blow to businesses, we appreciate the role they play and their importance in protecting people across Wales in an incredibly fast-moving situation.
“Businesses will now need support during this new phase of the pandemic. We welcome the announcement of £120m available for retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism and the night-time economy and await the specific details to be outlined further in due course.”
The Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has since announced the details of the financial package which has been designed to support businesses impacted by the spread of the omicron variant from December 13 to February 14.
Retail (including non-essential retail), hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses who pay Non Domestic Rates will be entitled to a payment of £2000, £4000 or £6000 depending on their rateable value. Businesses will be able to register their details online with their local authority from the week commencing January 10 2022.
Impacted businesses and their supply chains will also be able to apply for top up funding from a new Economic Resilience Fund. Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between £2500 and £25,000 in the week commencing January 17 2022.
For businesses, sole traders and freelancers who do not pay rates, there will be a Discretionary Fund administered by local authorities.
Businesses will be able to check their eligibility and gauge how much they can expect to receive from the new support package through Business Wales by the start of the New Year.