With the Government moving to Plan B in the Autumn and Winter Covid Plan, it’s probably a good idea to have a bit of a refresher on what Plan B means. The main components of Plan B that are presently outlined in the Government’s Plan are:
o People being instructed to work from home if possible
o Mandatory wearing of face coverings in some settings
o Mandatory vaccine-only certification would be introduced for visitors to the following venues:
Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions;
Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals
Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.
o There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests and mass participation sporting events.
However, it should be noted that these measures are not written in stone and that any move to Plan B may see them modified in response to the specific characteristics of Omicron.
Accommodation primary Guidance Updated
The primary guidance for accommodation businesses has been updated with changes to the sections on
o priority actions
o face coverings
o testing and vaccination
o guests who need to self-isolate
o guests who are quarantining after international travel.
Approved Countries and Territories Guidance Updated
There has been an update to the guidance on countries and territories with approved COVID-19 proof of vaccination for travel to England to state that people arriving into England from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia and Ukraine can now use the EU Digital COVID Certificate to add proof of vaccination status in the UK passenger locator form.
There is also an update to say that people aged 12 years and over must COVID-19 test before they travel to England from abroad.
And that the requirement to take a COVID-19 test has changed from within 3 days of travel to England to within 2 days.
And that people just transiting through England now need to have a Covid Test prior to arrival into the country
Visa Guidance Updated
The Home Office has updated the guidance on visa applications to remove the ability for people in Red List countries to use the ‘priority service’ or ‘super priority service’ when applying to enter the UK.
Wedding Guidance Updated
The guidance on holding weddings has been updated to take into account or current requirements introduced in response to the Omicron variant. The main change to say that In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, people should continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
It’s Wednesday so we have the DfT figures on transport use which cover the first full week of the new face covering rules. While the figures show that national Rail usage has dropped 10% (from 72% to 62%) there has been no measurable impact on the use of the tube or buses which remain constant at around 60% and 77% respectively.
Wearing Face Coverings
From Friday 10 December the public, and staff in public facing areas, are required to wear face coverings in these additional settings:
o community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
o libraries and public reading rooms
o polling stations and premises used for the counting of votes
o places of worship
o crematoria and burial ground chapels
o visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, indoor theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, indoor areas at aquariums, zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, snooker and pool halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, indoor theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
o public areas in hotels and hostels
o indoor areas of sports stadiums
Public Guidance Updated
The main public guidance has also been updated in line with yesterday’s announcement. This guidance also contains a list of premises where people are exempt from wearing facemasks, which are:
o Restaurants, cafés and canteens
o Bars and shisha bars
o Gyms & exercise facilities
o Photography studios
o Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques
It also contains a list of the places where having a NHS Covid Pass will be a condition of entry. These are:
o nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
o other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:
open between 1am and 5am
serve alcohol during this time
have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing)
provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
o indoor events with 500 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
o outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events