In between the other political distractions of the last few weeks, England has returned to the COVID measures set out in Plan A. This means:
- The government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can. People should now talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.
- Face coverings are no longer advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms.
- Face coverings are no longer advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries.
- There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you 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.
- Venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.
High Street traders and businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors will welcome these changes as they are desperate to return to pre-COVID trading conditions.
From 28th January changes are:
- nightclubs will be able to re-open
- COVID Pass needed for large indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls
- working from home remains important but moves from law to guidance
- in hospitality, no restrictions on meeting people and no requirement for table service or 2 metre physical distancing
- face coverings still required on public transport and in most indoor public places
Current published regulations are:
- get the vaccine or the vaccine booster,
- if you don’t have symptoms take regular lateral flow tests – especially before mixing with other people and visiting hospitals and care homes,
- if mixing with others keep gatherings small - keep your distance from people not in your group,
- if you have symptoms - self isolate and book a PCR test,
- wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing,
- open windows when meeting indoors,
- a mixture of home and office working is allowed,
- use the apps: COVID status (vaccine passport), Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland.
The current range of COVID-19 regulations for Northern Ireland are best reviewed on the https://nidirect.gov.uk website.