How are England's Covid restrictions changing after Plan B?

Shoppers in Norwich staying safe in face masks.
Picture: Sonya Duncan

Boris Johnson has announced Plan B restrictions will be lifted after January 26, 2022. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Boris Johnson has announced Plan B measures which were introduced to stop the spread of the Omicron Covid variant are to be dropped across England.

The prime minister told MPs in the House of Commons that the restrictions would be allowed to expire next week.

The news comes as Covid infection rates have fallen in most parts of the UK for the first time since early December.

What were the Plan B measures and when will they change?

Plan B measures were announced in England by Boris Johnson on December 8, 2021 in an attempt to deal with the spread of the Omicron variant.

The restrictions included compulsory face coverings in some areas, as well as the return of working from home where possible.

People also had to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to enter nightclubs under the rules.

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The restrictions are set to cease on Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

Will I still need to wear a mask?

Face masks will no longer be compulsory in indoor spaces from January 27 after being made mandatory in places such as shops, theatres, cinemas, and on public transport.

Masks in secondary school classrooms are no longer mandatory for pupils and staff as of January 20.

The prime minister also announced the Department for Education would shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas of schools.

Do I still need to work from home?

As of January 27, the government will no longer be advising people to work from home where they can.

Workers will also no longer be advised to take lateral flow tests before entering any "high risk settings" such as some workplaces, under government guidelines.

Covid

A covid test - Credit: Chris Bishop

Will I need a Covid pass if I'm going a nightclub or an event?

Covid passes proving vaccination status or a recent negative test result will no longer be mandatory to gain entry into venues and large events.

Venues can decide to keep this requirement in place.

Do I still need to isolate if I test positive for Covid?

As of next week, self-isolation after a positive test result will still be a legal requirement in England.

Currently, the self-isolation period is five full days. The day you test positive is considered day zero and the next is your first day.

Your isolation can be ended after five days if you produce a negative lateral flow test result on both day five and day six of your isolation.

The rules apply whether you are vaccinated or not.

However, the prime minister announced that he would not renew the mandatory isolation rule due to expire on March 24 and will seek a vote in the Commons to bring the expiry date forwards.