Government moves England into Plan B

Government moves England into Plan B (Wednesday December 8)

The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

This means:

  • 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.

More details on the Gov.uk website via the link below:

Government update on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19

Guidance on face coverings

From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis. See a full list of places where you must wear a face covering.

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

In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

Work from home if you can

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.

Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.

For those who attend their workplace, the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidance on how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. Businesses should consider this guidance when preparing their health and safety risk assessments, and put in place suitable mitigations.

Required use of 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
  • NHS.UK
  • A letter that you can obtain on NHS.UK or by calling 119

The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your COVID vaccination status and test results in a secure way for entry to domestic venues or events.

You can obtain an NHS COVID Pass two weeks after completing a full course of vaccination or with a negative test in the last 48 hours. The NHS COVID Pass can be obtained with two doses (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine), but we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out. You can also obtain an NHS COVID Pass if:

  • you have received a trial vaccine as part of a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK
  • you have a medical reason that means you cannot be vaccinated, confirmed by your GP or a specialist clinician

You can also show email or text proof of your negative test result in order to gain entry to these venues.

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.

Keeping yourself and others safe

There are still cases of Covid-19 in England and there is a risk you could catch or pass on the virus, even if you are fully vaccinated. You are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us.

If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.

Read the full guidance on the Government website

Covid-19 Response – Autumn and Winter 2021 (Full document)

 

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