England has officially returned to Plan A of COVID-19 safety measures. Over the past couple of weeks, we have already seen Plan B being phased out. The 19th of January saw the “work from home” message be scrapped and from the 20th of January staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges could say goodbye to face coverings in classrooms.
And now, as safety measures continue to ease even further in England, what does that mean for you?
FROM THE 27TH OF JANUARY IN ENGLAND
By law, venues and events in England are no longer required to use the NHS COVID-19 pass.
If you hate those masks then you’re in luck. Face coverings are no longer legally required by law in any setting except when using public transport in London. However, some places, such as supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, will be asking its customers to continue wearing face masks in their shops. Public health guidance have advised that face coverings in “crowded and enclosed spaces” should still be worn.
The good news doesn’t stop there. Face coverings are no longer advised by the Department for Education to be worn in communal areas.
LOOKING AHEAD – FROM THE 31ST OF JANUARY IN ENGLAND
There’s some good news for care homes on this date – from the 31st of January there will no longer be a limit on the number of visitors allowed inside. Also, care homes will only have to follow outbreak measures for 14 days rather than 28 days.
LOOKING FURTHER AHEAD – FROM THE 11TH OF FEBRUARY IN ENGLAND
If you’re thinking of travelling abroad, there’s some changes here too – if you’re fully vaccinated you will no longer need to take a COVID-19 test before or after you arrive in the UK. You will still need to complete a passenger locator form however.
If you’re one of the few who aren’t fully vaccinated then you will still need to take a pre-departure test. After you arrive, you will then need to take a PCR test on or before day 2, but you will only need to quarantine if you test positive. And, just like the fully vaccinated, you will need to complete a passenger locator form.
These changes come into force as scientists believe “it is likely the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally”. For changes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and further information for England, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.