The Prime Minister has announced a move to ‘Plan B’ as set out in the Autumn and Winter Plan.
Moving to Plan B will help to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and reduce the chances of the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure, while also allowing time to deliver more boosters.
The new plan includes:
- Mandatory facemasks in most indoor settings;
- Introducing mandatory NHS pass certification for large events;
- Those who can work from home should do so where practical; and,
- A new system of daily contact testing.
From Friday 10th December, face coverings will be mandatory in most indoor settings and on public transport, including taxis. There will be exemptions where face coverings are not practical, such as in hospitality settings includings cafes, restaurants and pubs, or in nightclubs and other night-time dance venues.
Staff in those mandatory settings will also be required to wear face coverings when they are in a part that is open to the public. Staff may also wear face coverings when working in settings where face coverings are not required, and businesses are encouraged to support them in doing so.
Working from home
From Monday 13 December, people who can work from home should do so to reduce contact with others both in the workplace and on public transport.
Employers should discuss working arrangements with employees and encourage any employees who have to continue going into work to take regular tests to manage their own risk and the risks to others.
NHS Covid pass
From Wednesday 15th December, visitors will be required to show their NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry to certain venues and events in England. People can acquire an NHS COVID Pass via 2 full doses of vaccination, or proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours.
Certification will be required in:
- All nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques, and any other venue that:
– is open between 1am and 5am;
– serves alcohol during this period;
– has a dance floor or space for dancing to be used by members of the public; and,
– provides music for dancing
- Indoor events with 500 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event;
- Outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event; and,
- Very large events with 10,000 or more attendees, irrespective of how many attendees are seated.
Daily Contact Testing
The Government will also introduce a policy of Daily Contact Testing as soon as possible as an alternative to self-isolation for fully vaccinated contacts of positive cases. This would break chains of transmission while also protecting against workforce shortages. Details on this are currently being finalised and will be published shortly.