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Plan B - The Latest Government Covid Restrictions Explained, December 2021

On 8th December 2021, the British Prime Minister enforced tougher Coronavirus restrictions, ordering people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use vaccine passes to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

While still seen to be a long way from the full lockdowns imposed earlier in the pandemic, the Prime Minister advised the Omicron variant, the most recent form of the COVID-19 virus, was spreading rapidly and had no choice but to move to "Plan B" while a vaccine booster programme rolls out.

So, what are you allowed to do, and what are the rules for the upcoming season?

Due to the challenging and unpredictable nature of the coronavirus outbreak, at the time of writing MVA had produced this article with the most reliable information to date. Whilst MVA has made every effort to make sure that it reflects the current situation as best as possible, it is highly recommended that readers should visit the UK Government website for more up to date information.

Working from Home
In the past few months, many had enjoyed hybrid working and going into the office part-time after the official work from home mandate was removed.

From Monday 13th December, the advice is to work from home once again if you can.

Christmas Gatherings
Although the instruction of working from home is being put in place, The Prime Minister stated that Christmas parties and nativities could go ahead, however people are urged to “exercise due caution” and get the available booster jab.

Vaccine Passports
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already introduced the use of vaccine passports for large venues, where England previously had not.

As of 15th December 2021, the NHS Covid pass, which can be obtained by having two vaccines or a negative lateral flow test, will be introduced for entry into nightclubs and other large venues.

Face Masks
The Government had already introduced the use of face masks on public transport and in shops. Face masks were also already required and compulsory in venues like hairdressers, takeaways and estate agents.

As of Friday 10th December, mask wearing will be required at indoor public venues including cinemas, in theatres and in places of worship – but face coverings will not be required in pubs and restaurants.

Self-Isolation
The Government recently introduced specific isolation rules for people who have been in contact with positive Omicron cases.

The instructions for known contacts to isolate for 10 days remains in place, even if they have been fully vaccinated.

Travel
New rules for international travel very recently came into effect, requiring all travellers entering the UK to take a Covid-19 pre-departure test.

If you test positive, you will not be allowed to travel.

There are more details on the UK Government website about the rules to reflect new plan B measures; where it advises people should read direct information from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. There is also further guidance on the Medway Council website.

MVA continues its efforts to provide guidance and advice during these challenging times for us all. For further help and information visit our designated COVID-19 section.