THE Omicron variant of coronavirus continues to pose further questions about what sort of Christmas people in Wales will be having this year - and no industry is affected more by the uncertainty than hospitality.

The picture is constantly changing. The Welsh Government is now reportedly meeting daily to assess the situation and has given strong indication that further measures could be introduced to clamp down on the spread of the omicron variant.

We’ve spoken to two Gwent businesses to find out if omicron is affecting footfall and how they feel about the possibility of more restrictions.

Gianluca Pandolfi and Massimo Intrigila are co-owners of Mamma Lina’s Italian restaurants in Rogerstone and in Cardiff's Albany Road - and say they’ve had more than 700 cancellations to date at the two sites.

Mr Pandolfi said there was “very little [they] could do” to prevent customers cancelling dinner reservations.

Mr Intrigila said: “Since the initial announcement regarding the Omicron new guidelines which was three weeks ago, I have just checked our bookings and we have had in total 759 cancellations to date for our Rogerstone and Cardiff restaurants.

“There is nothing we can do about it apart from seek to reassure customers that we are following all the guidelines in our restaurants and politely requesting that customers notify us with as much advance notice as possible regarding cancelling so we can change staff rotas and the orders we place with suppliers so we can at least try to reduce our losses.”

Mr Pandolfi said: “We will of course respect the wishes of our customers and understand why they are cancelling.

"We are going to close the restaurants from Christmas Eve to the second week of January to give our families and staff a chance to rest following very busy periods since the last lockdown.

“Who knows what is going to happen post-Christmas in terms of restrictions in the hospitality sector? How many times can restaurants and other small, independent businesses like ours bounce-back?

"We are watching the news almost 24/7 trying to find out if there have been any new changes/developments.”

Graham Wall, who runs the Commercial Inn in Risca, said he’s “very concerned” at the moment and that new restrictions would be "a big problem for us this time."

"We’ve been gearing up for Christmas and have bought loads of stock as not too long ago they were saying we’d be short of turkey," he said.

“If we see more restrictions, they’ll have huge implications for us. Christmas is our busiest time of year – people are off work; they’re spending a lot of time at the pub celebrating usually.

“We obviously want to do well through the Christmas period to help us cope with January which is usually the quietest time of year.

“We have seen people starting to drop off – we’re getting more cancellations and obviously people are concerned about omicron.

“We understand that public health comes first but to impose the type of restrictions we’ve seen before – or to even close us – would have a huge impact on business.”