The PM has announced plan B

People should work from home.

Boris Johnson has toughened coronavirus measures in England amid concern over the increasing spread of the Omicron variant.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister announced the measures in the government’s “Plan B”.

These include :

• COVID passports in “certain settings” like nightclubs

• People should work from home, if they can, for a “limited period”Advertisement

• Face masks a legal requirement in “certain settings” including theatres and cinemas – but not bars and restaurants – from Friday

Earlier on Wednesday, it was revealed that another 131 cases of Omicron – which is feared to be more transmissible than the Delta variant – had been recorded across the UK, taking the total to 568.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave a statement to the House of Commons while the Prime Minister carried out his press conference on the Government’s Plan B restrictions. 

Both Javid and Johnson confirmed that the Government would be introducing its ‘Plan B’ set of measures, which will be relevant to your restaurants. Note the highlighted exemption:  

  • Working from home: the Government will be reintroducing and updating the guidance on working from home so that only those who cannot work from home should continue to go into the workplace. Employers should use the rest of the week to discuss working arrangements with employees, and from Monday should work from home “if you can”.
  • Vaccine certification: mandatory vaccine certification based on vaccine status or proof of a negative test result will be required for entry into nightclubs or large events. To give businesses time to adapt, this will come into force in a week’s time.
  • Face coverings: from Friday, the mandatory wearing of face masks will be extended to cover all indoor public settings, including attractions and recreation. Hospitality will be exempt and there will also be exemptions for signing and exercise.
  • Self-isolation: close contacts of positive cases will be required to take daily lateral flow tests rather than self-isolate.

These measures will be reviewed on 5 January and the Government will provide an update to Parliament at this point. The measures will sunset on 26 January, meaning they will automatically expire at this point.

In his statement, Javid spoke about taking a balanced and proportionate approach and the importance of taking control of our response now. The PM meanwhile said the Government will be guided by “hard medical data” around four key criteria:

  • The efficiency of vaccines and boosters
  • The severity of Omicron
  • The speed of its spread
  • The rate of hospitalisations