With the arrival of the Omicron variant and cases of Covid-19 still high, the introduction of the ‘so-called’ Plan B restrictions has been in the talks for quite some time. We have been warned in the past that winter could be a challenging time with seasonal illnesses meeting Covid combined with more of us attending events and gatherings. This week it has been announced that the Plan B restrictions will come into force later this week and into next week, but what exactly are these new restrictions and how will they affect our day-to-day lives going forward?
You may remember that back in the summer it was claimed that the lifting of restrictions would be irreversible, but when it comes to this ongoing pandemic, it would seem that nothing is for certain, and we find ourselves once again having to adapt and change our behaviour to protect ourselves and others.
Mask Wearing is now Mandatory
Whilst some of us may still be wearing our masks in shops and crowded places anyway, this rule is set to become mandatory from Friday 10th December for most indoor venues, not just shops and such. It will be compulsory for you to wear a face covering, unless medically exempt, in places such as
- Places of worship
- Public transport
They may not be the most comfortable to things to wear but when you think about it like this image states, a mask is just a minor inconvenience when it can help to protect us and others around us.
In the case of theatres, many have been encouraging the wearing of face masks for a while now, but with these new rules coming into force, masks will be policed more strictly going forwards. Many theatres have also been asking audience members to provide proof of vaccination status or proof of a negative lateral flow test on entry since the summer.
The idea of Covid passports is hardly new as they have been argued about for a while. Whilst the new Plan B restrictions don’t go as far as to call them a passport as such, these Covid Passes will be required for entry to certain venues from Wednesday 15 December
These passes can be obtained through the official NHS app (not the Covid app).
- If you are double vaccinated, you can go to the NHS app and follow the instructions for get a Covid-19 Pass. The app will then provide you with a QR code that lasts 30 days as your proof of vaccination. The 30 days will renew every time you use the app to view your pass.
- If you are going somewhere that requires proof of a negative lateral flow test, you can also use the app to get this. Follow the same get a Covid-19 Pass instructions and you will be given a QR code that lasts for 48 hours.
Venues that will require a Covid Pass include
- Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people
- Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4000 people
- Any venue with more than 10,000 people
The government have stated that people should do a lateral flow test before entering a high-risk setting such as crowded places with people who you wouldn’t normally meet or when visiting someone who is more at risk.
It has also been said that ministers would like to change the newly introduced rule that states that anyone who is a contact of a confirmed omicron case must isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status. A new rule change would see those who are considered a close contact take daily tests instead of isolating but at this time there is no confirmed date as to when this change may come into force.
Work from Home
Another thing included in the new Plan B restrictions was a new work from home order. This may fill you with dread and remind you of last year when everything was closed and only key workers could go into work, but this one is a little bit different. The wording is ‘work from home if you can’, meaning that it is office workers and those who can work easily from home will be asked to do so from Monday 13 December. At this moment of time, shops, pubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues will be allowed to stay open, just with the new mask rules in place.