Scotland has announced that it will relieve more restrictions, as England gets ready to scrap the last of its Plan B measures that were introduced towards the beginning of winter to tackle the Omicron wave. Wales and Northern Ireland have also declared that they will be relaxing some restrictions – so what exactly is changing?
Changes in England
The government has scrapped asking people to work from home, and masks are no longer compulsory in classrooms in secondary schools.
From Thursday 27th January:
- Covid passes will no longer be needed to gain entry to various venues and events
- Face masks will no longer be compulsory in any public spaces, however London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said they will remain compulsory on TfL services
- Restrictions on visits to care homes will be eased
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that he also hopes to scrap mandatory self-isolation for people who test positive for Covid. The current rules expire on 24th March, however he hopes to bring that date forward.
Changes in Scotland
- From 28th January, social distancing in indoor settings where people don’t need to wear a face covering, will lessen to 1m from 2m
- From 28th January, it will not be necessary for adults taking part in organised activities with under-5s to wear a mask
- From 31st January, work from home advice will be lifted. The government wants a “phased return to the office” and says some staff should carry on working from home for the time being
Other restrictions eased:
- Reopening of nightclubs
- Limits on the size of indoor events removed
- The 1m social distancing requirement indoors and table service in hospitality venues
- No restriction on the number of households meeting indoors
- Non-professional indoor contact sports can recommence
Changes in Wales
There is a gradual relieving of restrictions currently occurring in Wales.
- Limits on the size of outdoor events removed
- From 28th January, nightclubs will re-open, and there will no longer be a limit of six people for gatherings in restaurants and pubs
Changes in Northern Ireland
- The “rule of six” within hospitality has ended and guidance of three households allowed to meet in a home has also been scrapped
- From 26th January, nightclubs will be allowed to open, with dancing and indoor standing events also permitted again
- From 26th January, it will no longer need to be a requirement to show your Covid status in hospitality premise
- From 26th January, the need for offices to “take reasonable measures for 2m social distancing” will be removed
- Throughout the UK, people who test positive for Covid can now finish their self-isolation after seven days instead of the 10; however this is subject to two negative lateral flow test (LFT) results on days six and seven.
- Children and fully vaccinated adults no longer need to take a pre-departure test prior to travelling to the UK and can now take an LFT instead of a PCR on arrival.