Plan B rules: All your questions about new Covid restrictions answered

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From vaccine passports to working from home, these are the new rules under England’s Plan B as the Omicron variant surges

From Friday, face masks will be extended to cinemas and theatres
From Friday, face masks will be extended to cinemas and theatres

How do I get a vaccine passport?

In England, they are available through the NHS app on smartphones.

If you’re double jabbed, you download a copy and save it.

You have to download a new version every month.

You may be asked to show it to enter certain venues – like football stadiums and nightclubs.

Wales already requires vaccine passports.

What about face masks?

These were made mandatory again on public transport and shops in England on November 30.

From Friday, they will now be extended to cinemas and theatres.

Confirming masks will still not be required in pubs, cafes and restaurants, the PM said: “There will be of course exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising or singing.”

In Wales, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public places, and public transport, including taxis.

You may be asked to show your vaccine pass to enter certain venues
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Image:

Matthew Horwood)

Do I have to work from home again?

The advice is to work from home if you’re able but to continue to go to work if your job cannot be done from home.

Supporters of the measure say this has a big impact on cutting chains of transmission – not only are people not mixing with colleagues, they are also not commuting on trains, buses and trams and not being tempted to go for a post-work pint.

Critics say the move further hammers high streets, with pubs, cafes, restaurants and sandwich shops all suffering drops in trade.

The new advice is to work from home if you’re able
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Image:

Robin Utrecht/REX/Shutterstock)

In practice, many office staff have not returned to pre-pandemic behaviour, with some working from home permanently and others going in some days and working from home on others.

What about schools?

Schools do not have to close.

The PM told last night’s press conference that nativity plays and other events, such as Christmas fairs, can still go ahead.

What other restrictions could be used?

Another full lockdown is possible, but there are several other measures the Government would likely deploy first.

They could include limits on the number of people who can socialise indoors, such as the Rule of Six.

Ministers could then tighten that to no household mixing indoors if they wanted.

Things would have to get very bad before a fourth full lockdown – closing pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail – was ordered.

What about testing for contacts of Omicron-infected patients?

So far, people who have been in contact with confirmed cases of Omicron have been told to self-isolate for 10 days.

That will be axed and people will be able to test daily instead.

The PM said: “We will introduce daily tests for contacts instead of isolation so we keep people safe while minimising the disruption to daily life.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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