Covid restrictions: Mark Drakeford's new guidance accompanies the return of a range of questions

Will the measures that are due to come into force be enough? Credit: PA

The return of some Covid restrictions to Wales is accompanied by the return of a whole range of questions.

There’s the question of effectiveness. Will the measures that are due to come into force be enough? What does closing nightclubs achieve? Does their closure mean the Welsh Government now thinks the Covid pass, aimed at keeping them open, is ineffective?

When I asked him that last question, Mark Drakeford was clear, saying: "No, I think Covid passes have been very effective and they have helped a number of settings to stay open or events to take place that otherwise might not have been possible."

But he said there’s a “hierarchy of risk” and nightclubs are high-up in that hierarchy which is why they’re being closed.

As for whether or not the measures as set out will be enough, there’s no assurance on that front.

The Welsh Government cabinet will keep meeting over Christmas and, while there’s no plan for further announcements, they’re not being ruled out.

Then there’s the question of compliance: will people do as they’re advised if they’re not obliged to by law?

Certainly the various scandals about Downing Street parties has had an impact on the willingness of people to trust politicians and anyway there’s clearly a hard core of people who are virulently opposed to some or all restrictions.

Scandals about Downing Street parties has had an impact on the willingness of people to trust politicians. Credit: PA

But the indications are that, however vocal and visible those opponents are, there are still significant numbers willing to abide by rules or guidance. The calculation is that even if fewer people follow the advice, the behavioural changes will have an impact on the spread of the virus. Whether or not it’ll be significant enough is another matter.

There’s also the question of finances. Mark Drakeford used his press conference today (Friday, December 17) to repeat his criticism of the UK Treasury refusing to fund major support schemes like furlough unless strict restrictions are introduced in England.

The UK Government and their fellow Conservatives say that the Welsh Government has more than enough money, an extra £2.5bn added to its budget over the course of the pandemic.

While there’s no plan for further announcements in Wales, they’re not being ruled out. Credit: PA

Mark Drakeford insisted that that money is for “mainstream government activities” not for the out-of-the-ordinary costs of putting businesses in the position where they have no choice but to lay people off.

That’s one of the many issues in front of the Chancellor as he returns early from his overseas visit.

Finally, and almost impossible to answer, there’s the question of what happens next. The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and will become the dominant strain here in Wales soon.

Political leaders in Cardiff, London, Edinburgh and Belfast will continue to review the situation and what action they need to take. The only certainty ahead is uncertainty.