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Pubs and restaurants in Wales, will close from 6pm on Christmas Day and all non-essential shops, alongside leisure and fitness centres will close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.

Drakeford said: “We are seeing levels of coronavirus in some parts of the country that we haven’t experienced at any point before in this pandemic. This pandemic is putting our NHS under intense and sustained strain.

“There are more than 2,100 people with coronavirus symptoms in our hospitals – equivalent to five general hospitals fully occupied by people with coronavirus.”

Long and difficult year

Drakeford added: “This has been such a long and difficult year. We need to take this action to save lives and control the spread of this awful virus.”

The four UK Governments met today (Wednesday 16 December) to confirm the arrangements for the five-day Christmas period and joint advice will be issued later today.

While the rules are only applicable in private settings, Wales has announced it will only be permitting two households to mix indoors to form the Christmas bubble as opposed to England’s three household rule.

The decision to exclude pubs from this rule makes a “mockery of the additional measures on pubs​”, one trade body stated.

Restrictive rules on hospitality

The ‘Christmas bubble’ measures mean that three households can meet at home for five days during the festive period, mix indoors and stay overnight while “restrictive rules on hospitality” remain in place.

At that time last month (Novmber), a statement from the UK Government and devolved administrations about Christmas arrangements said: “We have agreed travel restrictions across the four administrations and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between 23 and 27 December.

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