The government has announced that England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

Covid-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.

Face coverings

The public, and staff in public facing areas, are required to wear face coverings in these additional settings:

  • community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • polling stations and premises used for the counting of votes
  • places of worship
  • crematoria and burial ground chapels
  • 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)
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • indoor areas of sports stadiums

The public, and staff in public facing areas, are also required to wear face coverings in these settings (this has been mandatory since 30 November):

  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • auction houses
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and letting agents
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • pharmacies
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • retail galleries
  • retail travel agents
  • takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams, buses, coaches and ferries), taxis and private hire vehicles
  • any car or small van during a professionally delivered driving lesson, a practical driving test, or during one of the practical tests for giving driving instruction, and in all HGV lessons and tests
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)

Find out more about when you are required to wear a face covering.

Work from home if you can

Office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work.

Find out more about working from home.

NHS Covid Pass

From Wednesday 15 December, certain venues and events are required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

You can access your NHS Covid Pass through:

The use of the NHS Covid Pass is required as a condition of entry into the following places:

  • nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques;
  • 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); and
    • provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing.
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • any events with 10,000 or more attendees indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

There are some settings that are 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.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have Covid-19.

Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any Covid-19 symptoms , even if they are mild.

You can stop self-isolating at the start of day 6 if you get 2 negative rapid lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6 and do not have a temperature. Tests must be at least 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, wait 24 hours before testing again.

You should also self-isolate straight away if:

  • you've tested positive for Covid-19 – this means you have the virus
  • someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
  • you've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive

If you live with or have been in contact with someone with Covid-19, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine
  • you're under 18 years and 6 months old
  • you're taking part or have taken part in an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial
  • you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Find out more about self-isolation.