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England returns to Plan A

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.

 

Regional variations

 

Wales

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

 

Scotland

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.

 

Northern Ireland

The current range of COVID-19 regulations for Northern Ireland are best reviewed on the https://nidirect.gov.uk website.