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Present (via Teams)

  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (Chair)
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Ken Skates MS
  • Kirsty Williams MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Dafydd Elis Thomas MS
  • Lee Waters MS


  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
  • Carys Evans, Principal Private Secretary First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Deputy Director, Cabinet Division
  • Toby Mason, Head of Strategic Communications
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser
  • Alex Bevan, Special Adviser 
  • Ian Butler, Special Adviser
  • Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser
  • Sarah Faye, Special Adviser
  • Paul Griffiths, Special Adviser
  • Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
  • Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser
  • Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser
  • Tom Woodward, Special Adviser
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Jonathan Scourfield, Specialist Policy Adviser
  • Dewi Knight, Specialist Adviser for Education Reform
  • Tracey Burke, Director General, Education and Public Services
  • Andrew Goodall, Director General, Health
  • Andrew Slade, Director General ESNR
  • Reg Kilpatrick, Director General COVID-19 Crisis Coordination
  • Frank Atherton, CMO
  • Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Adviser for Health
  • Simon Brindle, Director Restart Coordination
  • Andrew Jeffreys, Director Treasury
  • Dylan Hughes, First Legislative Counsel
  • Helen Lentle, Director Legal Services
  • Emma Watkins, Deputy Director Economic Policy
  • Tom Smithson, Deputy Director Restart
  • Liz Lalley, Deputy Director Recovery
  • Terry Kowal, Senior Legislative Counsel
  • Neil Buffin, Senior Lawyer

Item 1: Introduction

  1. The First Minister advised ministers that the purpose of the meeting was to finalise decisions on the detail of the restrictions that would be implemented from 4 December, to help ensure families could meet for up to 5 days over the Christmas period in the safest way possible.
  2. Any restrictions would be for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence, spread of infection or contamination. There must be a threat to public health and the restrictions had to be proportionate in what they were intending to achieve.
  3. The First Minister invited the Chief Medical Officer to outline the current epidemiological trend, which unfortunately was continuing in an upwards trajectory of infections. The Wales rate had risen to over 200 cases per 100,000 of the population, with over 1600 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds with over 1000 of those patients confirmed as having COVID-19. Cabinet noted that the Wales rate had reached 260 cases per 100,000 just prior to the firebreak, which had brought it down to 160 cases per 100,000. The critical care bed situation was currently stable at 58 beds in use, but it was expected that the relaxations around Christmas would only increase the burden on the NHS.
  4. In relation to the spread of infections via the hospitality sector, the evidence did point towards an increase in the incidence rate across the sector and the consumption of alcohol was a factor as social distancing can break down as people have an altered perception of risk.

Item 2: December Restrictions - Business Support – Economic Resilience Fund Sector Specific Package

  1. Cabinet consideration then focused on the package of support for businesses that would be required as a result of the decision taken to restrict some activities in the run up to Christmas, in order to contain the spread of the virus.
  2. It was reported that a package of up to £340 million of support had been designed at pace. The package fell within the overall Economic Resilience Fund, and followed similar principles in development, design and delivery, blending direct funding via Local Authority distribution and Welsh Government administered grants to businesses.
  3. To support businesses affected by the new restrictions into the New Year, the Welsh Government would be providing the most generous package of financial assistance anywhere in the UK, which would be in addition to the various support schemes available from the UK government.
  4. The first element of the package was a £160 million restrictions business fund, which would support up to 60,000 businesses on the non-domestic rating list across Wales. Businesses, including those in retail, tourism, leisure and hospitality, and their supply chains, which would be materially affected by the restrictions would receive payments of between £3,000 and £5,000.
  5. In addition, discretionary grants of up to £2,000 would continue to be available for those not included on the non-domestic rating list.
  6. It was noted that delivery of the fund would be taken forward by local authorities and their ongoing support and help to deliver this part of the package was welcomed.
  7. The second element comprised a £180 million fund targeted directly at hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses. The fund would provide grants of up to £100,000 for SMEs and £150,000 for larger businesses. The grants would be linked to the number of people employed and their operating costs and up to 10,000 businesses would be supported.
  8. Cabinet noted that this was the first time such a fund had been introduced by the Welsh Government and it would be delivered through Business Wales.
  9. It was noted that, in development of the package, ministers and officials had engaged widely with the hospitality sector and with social partners and the WLGA and opposition parties. There had been broad support for the scale of the package, with key concerns raised in relation to impacts on and support for supply chain businesses, as well as deliverability issues.
  10. Further discussions had also taken place over the weekend between ministers, local authority leaders, officials and the WLGA regarding the scope to deliver payments to businesses prior to January and work was ongoing with delivery partners to ensure that, where possible, payments could be made to affected businesses as quickly as possible before Christmas.
  11. Cabinet agreed the paper.

Item 3: December restrictions due to COVID-19

  1. The First Minister introduced the paper, which contained the remaining decisions that Cabinet would need to take in relation to restrictions in December.
  2. In terms of new restrictions for hospitality and indoor entertainment attractions, Cabinet agreed that 6pm on Friday 4 December would be the date for national measures to be introduced.
  3. Cabinet agreed that pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes would have to close by 6pm and would not be allowed to serve alcohol, but could provide takeaway services after this time.
  4. From the same date, indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, would close.
  5. Indoor visitor attractions, such as museums, galleries and heritage sites would have to close, but outdoor visitor attractions would remain open.
  6. Cabinet agreed that the rest of the national measures already in place would need to remain, and in particular there would be no changes to household bubbles, how many people could meet in public indoor or outdoor places, or restrictions on other businesses. Cabinet agreed that for the Christmas period only, people in flat or house shares should be allowed to form a different Christmas bubble from other people in their one home.
  7. An additional overnight hotel stay either side of the Christmas bubble period for those travelling from Northern Ireland was agreed.
  8. It was noted that all the restrictions would be reviewed by 17th December and then every 3 weeks following that.
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