Since the emergence of the Omicron variant in November 2021, “Plan B” measures have been in place across the country. These were introduced to curb the spread of the highly transmissible variant, and to provide time to administer as many booster jabs as possible.
Measures involved the requirement to wear masks in enclosed spaces (such as in the supermarket), working from home wherever possible and the use of vaccine passes for events in large venues.
Plan B measures were always due to expire on January 26, and the Government had committed to reviewing the rules before this date.
Today (January 19), Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that, as of Thursday, January 27, these measures will be relaxed with England returning to Plan A. Covid passes will no longer be required in large venues, face masks will not be required anywhere, and working from offices may resume.
Johnson thanked the NHS for their effort and the effort of all to give out as many booster doses as possible. He spoke about the need to remain “cautious”, but cited data that the Omicron wave is passing its peak, saying hospital admissions have stabilised (and fallen in London).
He added that Omicron is still a threat to people’s health, and urged everyone who hasn’t to get vaccinated.
What has been announced today?
Which Covid measures have been relaxed?
Masks are no longer mandatory in enclosed spaces, though they are still encouraged. Covid passes are also no longer required in venues (but they continue to use them if they choose), and the call to work from home has been lifted. Requirements to wear masks in classrooms are being scrapped from tomorrow.
Restrictions on visits to care homes are also being eased.
What Covid measures are still in place across England?
The requirement to self-isolate for a minimum of five days upon a positive test. He did, however, says “there will soon come a time” where this requirement can be removed. He said he expects not to renew this requirement after their expiry on March 26, but a vote in the house is likely to decide this.