BORIS Johnson has triggered Plan B Covid restrictions to battle the lightning spread of the Omicron variant across Britain.
The PM announced at a press conference tonight that the new measures are needed to help fight off the virus super strain.
He had hoped to hold off on introducing any more curbs on people’s daily lives until January to give Brits a normal Christmas.
But the spread of Omicron, which scientists fear is three times as infectious as the current Delta strain, has forced him to act.
Plan B measures will come into force from Friday. Here’s what you can and can’t do under the new rules.
The rules on where people have to wear masks are being extended from Friday to cover most public venues including theatres and cinemas.
Brits have already been told to wear face coverings on public transport and in many public places.
The rules also cover shops, post offices and banks, beauty salons and hairdressers, and taxi rides.
But the PM confirmed they won’t be extended to pubs and restaurants, gyms, or places were people sing like choir practices.
The Government says: “Face coverings have low economic costs and can be effective in reducing transmission in public and community settings.”
Working from home
Brits will be told to start working from home again from next Monday to help stop the spread of Omicron.
The measure will only take the form of advice, meaning workers won’t be forced to stay away from the office.
Boris said tonight: “Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can. By reducing your contacts in the workplace you will help slow transmission.”
The Government says that “high levels of home working have played a very important role in preventing sustained epidemic growth”.
But ministers also acknowledge the WFH creates problems for some firms and has a knock-on effect on local economies.
Large venues will be required to introduce vaccine passports as a condition of entry under the new measures.
People will have to show proof they’ve been vaccinated or provide a negative lateral flow test from next Wednesday.
The restrictions will cover indoor events of more than 500 people, including venues like nightclubs.
They’ll also apply to “crowded” outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000, including sports stadiums.
The Government says: “Mandating vaccine-only certification would be preferable to closing venues entirely or reimposing social distancing.”
People are still allowed to hold Christmas parties with Brits encouraged to hit pubs and restaurants this festive season.
Ministers are advising revellers to take a Lateral Flow Test before heading out to ensure they don’t have Covid.
But there are no restrictions on the number of party-goers or where such events can be held.
Pubs and restaurants
Brits will still be able to enjoy a Christmas tipple or meal at their favourite pub or restaurant.
The PM isn’t announcing any new restrictions on the hospitality industry, which has taken a hammering from Covid.
There will be no limit on capacity at venues and social distancing rules aren’t being reintroduced.
Boris also didn’t announce any new travel restrictions today, after the rules were tightened up over recent weeks.
Brits are still free to travel abroad for a festive break, but will have to take a pre-departure test before returning to the UK.
Arrivals also have to take a PCR swab before or on Day 2 in the country and quarantine until they get their result back.