Covid rules: what restrictions are being removed for Plan A after Boris Johnson's announcement?

The Prime Minister has announced that England will be rolling back plan B.

By Abi Whistance
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:44 am

Boris Johnson has announced that England will be moving to plan A on Wednesday 26 January after the Omicron wave hit its peak earlier this week.

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Under plan B, people had to wear masks in shops and on public transport, and were advised to work from home when possible.

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From Thursday 27 January it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear face masks anywhere.

Here are the new rules under plan A and what they mean for face masks, school rules and working from home.

Where do I need to wear a face mask?

In classrooms children will no longer be required from Thursday 20 January - even earlier than expected.

This will then be followed by an end to their use in communal areas in schools from Thursday 27 January.

Also from Thursday 27 January it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear face masks anywhere, including on public transport or in shops.

However, some businesses and organisations, for example transport operators or shops, may still request that people wear them, which means you can be refused access if you do not wear one.

Do I need to work from home?

The work from home guidance is no longer a requirement as of Wednesday 19 January.

However, similar to wearing masks, individual employers may delay a return to the office or implement a cautious or phased approach to returning.

Do I need a vaccine passport?

A Covid passport, or Covid pass, will no longer be a requirement for venues, however some may choose to keep it as a safety precaution.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has said that the government was reviewing the definition of fully vaccinated, and may decide to increase this from two jabs to three.

Do I need to isolate if I get Covid?

Yes, self-isolation is still a legal requirement for people who have coronavirus.

Earlier this week the isolation period was reduced from seven to five days, as long as people obtain two negative tests on day five and day six of their isolation.

Boris Johnson has said he plans to remove the requirement to isolate when the regulations expire in March, meaning that the approach to Covid would be comparable to endemic viruses such as the flu.

Do I need the vaccine to travel?

There were no new announcements on travel yesterday, however pre-departure tests were already scrapped earlier in January.

However, fully vaccinated travellers must book a PCR or lateral flow test before their trip to England to be taken within 48 hours of arrival.

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