The Covid Plan B restrictions coming into action this week - and when they start

New coronavirus restrictions are coming into action in England this week, following an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to concerns over the Omicron variant.

Mr Johnson held a televised press conference on Wednesday, December 8 in which he announced moves to implement the Government’s Plan B Covid measures – which include additional mask-wearing requirements, work-from-home guidance and the use of the NHS Covid Pass in certain settings.

The new rules are coming into action over a series of different dates, with the updated requirements for the use of face coverings already in force as of Friday, December 10.

A vote on the measures in Parliament is expected on Tuesday, December 14.

The restrictions will then be reviewed in three weeks, with an expiration date of six weeks after implementation.

Here, we take a look at the changes coming into force this week – what they are, and when they’re happening.

Monday, December 13

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accompanied by England's Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty, left, and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance at a press conference where Plan B restrictions were announced. Picture: Getty Images.

From this date, those who can do so will be advised to work from home.

Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work.

In the Government’s guidance, those who still need to attend their workplaces in person are advised to take regular lateral flow tests to manage their own risk, and the risk to others.

The guidance adds: “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.”

Wednesday, December 15

Subject to Parliamentary approval, from this date the use of the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into a number of venues.

This includes; nightclubs, other late night dance venues open between 1am and 5am, unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.

People can demonstrate two vaccine doses via the app, or instead provide proof of a negative lateral flow test in the last 48 hours – by way of a text or email.

What changed on Friday, December 10?

The mandatory use of face coverings has now returned in most public indoor venues.

Additions from the above date included cinemas, theatres and places of worship.

The Government made an earlier announcement to reintroduce the use of masks in shops and on public transport from Tuesday, November 30.

Their use is not mandatory in bars, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres and nightclubs.

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