Covid Plan B: How new measures will affect Christmas

Boris Johnson urges caution over the festive period but adds that people 'should not cancel' parties or nativity plays

Downing Street, Coronavirus

12/9/2021 2:00:00 AM

Boris Johnson held a press conference on Wednesday at Downing Street to set out what measures the Government would take as it moves to its Covid Plan B

Boris Johnson urges caution over the festive period but adds that people 'should not cancel' parties or nativity plays

The introduction of the new measures came in the wake of rapidly increasing cases of the omicron variant.The Prime Minister announced that work-from-home guidance would return, Covid passports will become mandatory in large venues and mask rules will be extended to more public places including cinemas.

The regulations enforcing the changes - which will apply in England - are expected to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday, December 9.What measures have been introduced in England: From Friday, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. However, there will be exemptions for hospitality venues.

The Prime Minister advised “those who can” to work from home from Monday December 13.And from Wednesday December 15, the NHS Covid Pass will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.

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When will the measures be reviewed: The Prime Minister said that the measures will be reviewed “no later than early January”.He said his aim was for restrictions to be in place "no later than early January and possibly before, if we start to get some of that really granular information [on the omicron variant], but we need to see the data and work on it pretty hard.”

What they mean for Christmas parties and nativity plays: The Prime Minister said that people should not cancel their Christmas parties or nativity plays.However, he suggested that they should take a Covid test before attending any festive events.Boris Johnson tells me people should NOT cancel Christmas parties and nativity plays. But suggests people take a test before Xmas parties.

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) December 8, 2021 Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said: "On Christmas, the best way to ensure we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible is to get on with Plan B - irritating though it may be, it is not a lockdown, it is Plan B, it is what we set out a while back - and to get your booster and to get your jab."

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Asked about whether festive parties and nativity plays should be cancelled, he replied: "No, in my view they should not.”"They should follow the guidance, of course, but we are not saying we want kids to be taken out of school before the end of term - not that there is very long to go now - and we don't want nativity plays to be cancelled.

"We think that it is OK currently, on what we can see, to keep going with Christmas parties, but obviously everybody should exercise due caution, have ventilation, wash your hands, get a test before you go - (it is) a sensible thing to do to give everybody else at the party the confidence that they are going to be meeting someone who is not contagious."

What they mean for Christmas services: From Friday, face coverings will become compulsory in places of worship.However, the Prime Minister said that people who are “singing” will be exempt from face masks, meaning those attending Christmas services will be able to remove their face coverings when joining in carols.

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What they mean for Christmas shopping and hospitality: In England, face coverings are already required in shops and shopping centres.Hospitality settings will be exempt from face mask rules meaning people attending Christmas meals in pubs or restaurants will not be required to wear a face covering.

What they mean for Christmas travel: The Prime Minister did not announce any extra international travel restrictions at the Downing Street press conference.As such, the situation stands from the added travel restrictions that were already in place following the discovering of the omicron variant.

Eleven African countries have been added to the travel red list and a number of nations – including France, Portugal and Spain – are imposing stricter restrictions on arrivals from the UK.Travel testing rules have also already been tightened: anyone travelling to the UK must now take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival, and self-isolate until they have received a negative result – regardless of the country they are travelling from, or their vaccination status.

Read more: The Telegraph »

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