Plan B restrictions introduced to fight Omicron will end next Wednesday (26 January). However, it will still be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid. Currently, self-isolation is five days with negative tests on days five and six.
The restrictions, which were introduced on 8 December, required masks at most indoor venues, Covid passes at some, and everyone to work from home if possible.
For the first time in nearly two years, restaurants and venues will no longer be affected by any restrictions. From Wednesday, staff won't have to wear masks and larger venues won't have to check Covid passes upon entry. However, if a staff member contracts Covid, they will still have to isolate.
HOSPITALITY RULES FROM 26 JAN
- Staff and customers no longer need to wear masks
- No Covid passes are needed for larger venues
- Advice will no longer be to work from home
This announcement has been welcomed by hospitality trade bodies. However, they have also warned the government not to underestimate the damage that has been done, and that more financial support will be needed.
This news comes after, Oliver Dowden, co-chair of the Conservative party, said there were ‘encouraging signs’ last week. And in other parts of the UK, a similar shift is happening. On Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon announced that restrictions would be lifted this coming Monday.
The decrease in infection rate has been partly due to over half the population having had all three jabs and an increase in testing as people go back to work after Christmas.
Sourdough and zoom parties aside, it has been a hard twenty months since Covid first hit the UK. Some venues, however, have adapted in creative ways, launching DIY restaurant meal kits so customers could enjoy their food at home, or fun merch to keep the business afloat.
With restrictions easing around the same time as dry January ending for many of us, the year is looking drastically better already.
In other news, Come Dine with Me: The Professionals is launching on Channel 4.
Always check the government guidelines for updates. Accurate at time of writing.