Plan B: What has the Government Introduced?
On Wednesday 8th December 2021, the Prime minister announced the Government were introducing Plan B to help reduce the impact of the Omicron variant.
What rules are already in place?
- Pupils at secondary school are being strongly advised to wear face coverings in all communal areas with this guidance also apply to visitor and staff at all school and child care settings.
- Secondary school students in wales are being urged to wear face coverings whilst in classroom or communal settings. Staff and students at colleges and universities should also wear face coverings whilst inside.
- Anyone travelling to the UK will be required to take a PCR or a Lateral flow Covid-19 test no within 48 hours before their departure, in addition, individuals entering the UK will be required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival. These individuals must self-isolate until they have a negative test result.
- All contacts of suspected Omicron variant will be contacted by their local contact tracing system and are required to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of age or vaccination status.
- 1m or more social distancing remains enforced in places such as hospitality and passport control.
- Anyone testing positive must self-isolate
- People are advised to test for Covid before going to crowded places or spending tie with those at greater risk
What are the Plan B Measures for England?
From Friday 10th December 2021, face coverings will become mandatory in most indoor venues including theatres, places of worship and cinemas, in addition to shops and public transport, as the current guidance already enforces. Face coverings will not be mandatory in hospitality settings, (Pubs and restaurants) and also venues where it is ‘not practical to wear them’
From Monday 13th December 2021, the public will be required to “work from home if they can” to help reduce the spread of the omicron variant amongst co-workers.
From Wednesday 15th December 2021, the public will need an NHS Covid pass or a negative lateral flow test to gain access to the following:
- Indoor unseated venues with 500 people
- Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4000 people
- Any venue with more than 10,000 people
This measure is currently subject to parliamentary approval.
What is happening with the booster scheme?
The booster campaign has been stepped up by the government:
- Booster jab is to be offered to all over 18s
- The gap between the second dose and the booster has been decreased from 6 months to 3 months.
- People with a weakened immune system will be offered a fourth dose as a booster, no sooner than 3 months after their third dose
- Children ages 12-15 will be invited for their second dose 3 months after their first dose
- Vulnerable people will be contact ted first, followed by older aged individuals, and then younger people. However, the government is urging people to not try to book their booster jab before they receive their invitation from the NHS.
- The government aims to have every eligible person in England and Scotland receive their booster invitation before the end of January, however they may receive the actual booster after this date. In an attempt to meet this goal, the government will roll out booster jabs to 1,500 community pharmacies and extra hospital hubs in England.
- Wales will also increase the capacity in clinics and drive-through centers and will work with GPs and other groups, including soldiers and firefighters to deliver vaccines. In Northern Ireland, there will be a push for extra vaccination centers. Scotland have not yet discussed what they are doing, however, they will release their approach soon.
Why is Plan B being introduced?
These changes are being made in an attempt to reduce the impact of the recently found Covid variant, Omicron. Not much is known about the new variant, however, there are fears that the Omicron variant is more infectious. In addition to this, experts believe the vaccine currently has less of an impact on the variant.
What is the situation in wales?
- NHS Covid pass needed for entry to nightclubs, theatres, concert halls, cinemas and many other indoor and outdoor events
- Working from home wherever possible
- Face coverings compulsory on public transport and in shops and hospitals
What is the situation in Northern Ireland?
- Limit of 30 people from different households mixing in indoor domestic settings
- Face coverings compulsory in shops, indoor seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and other settings
- Vaccine passports for venues including nightclubs, bars and cinemas
- Post-primary pupils must wear a face coverings inside school buildings and school transport, staff are also encouraged to wear a face covering in school areas where social distancing is not possible.
What is the situation in Scotland?
- Social distancing rules remain in place in healthcare settings such as hospitals, GP surgeries and dentists where the 2m rule applies.
- Face coverings are compulsory on public transport and inside shops
- All school staff and secondary pupils are to wear face coverings indoors
- Indoor hospitality venues must collect contact details of customers
- Working from home where possible
- All over 18s are required to prove their vaccinating status at nightclubs and other venues
Should you wish to discuss any of these points, or you are looking to create a smooth HR operation please get in contact with the team at HPC today.
T: 0844 800 5932