The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
- From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
- From 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
- From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis.
There are some exemptions. You do not have to wear a face covering in hospitality settings such as cafés, restaurants and pubs. This is because it is not practical to keep removing face coverings to eat or drink.
You do not need to wear a face covering in nightclubs or certain other night-time venues, including dance halls and discotheques. This is because it is not recommended that you wear a face covering while exercising or during strenuous physical activity, including dancing.
Settings which are exempt from wearing a face covering include:
- Restaurants, cafés and canteens
- Bars and shisha bars
- Gyms & exercise facilities
- Photography studios
- Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques
Working From Home
Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13 December. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work – for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries. If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.
The NHS Covid Pass
From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated (currently a full course of vaccination without the need for a booster, but this will be kept under review), have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or that they have an exemption. This means that those aged 18 years or over must show their NHS COVID Pass, or an alternative proof of a negative test result, such as an email or text proof, to gain entry into these venues.
You can access your NHS COVID Pass through:
- the NHS App
- A letter that you can obtain on NHS.UK or by calling 119
The use of the NHS COVID Pass is required as a condition of entry into the following places:
- nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques;
- other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:
- open between 1am and 5am;
- serve alcohol during this time;
- have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing); and
- provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
- indoor events with 500 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions;
- outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals; and
- any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events
There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests, and mass participation sporting events.