Face masks and work from home rules axed in England from next week

19 January 2022, 13:11 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 17:00

Boris Johnson has revealed Plan B measures will be ditched
Boris Johnson has revealed Plan B measures will be ditched. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Plan B Covid measures are set to be ditched in England next week, as coronavirus cases continue to fall.

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Boris Johnson has revealed Covid restrictions in England will end next week.

The Prime Minister said all Plan B measures - including face masks and Covid passes - will expire on 26 January.

Following Prime Minister’s Questions, the PM made an announcement confirming that masks will no longer be required in shops and on public transport, while pupils can take them off in classrooms from tomorrow.

This will see a return to 'Plan A', with Mr Johnson telling the public to 'think about' wearing a mask in crowded settings.

Boris Johnson has scrapped Plan B Covid measures
Boris Johnson has scrapped Plan B Covid measures. Picture: Alamy

“From tomorrow, we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas," he said.

"In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet - but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”

The working from home guidance has also been scrapped, with businesses allowed to welcome workers back to the office from next week.

It is still a legal requirement for anyone who tests positive for Covid to isolate for at least five days.

Mr Johnson added that he believes the Omicron wave has already peaked nationally, and cases and hospital admissions are slowly starting to fall.

This comes after Plan B restrictions were first introduced in December in a bid to slow the spread of the new variant and allow time for the booster vaccine rollout.

In Scotland, most of the restrictions will be lifted from Monday, which means nightclubs can reopen and indoor events can welcome more people.

As for Wales, sporting events will be open for crowds again from Friday, while nightclubs can reopen the following week, while in Northern Ireland, nightclubs will remain closed for now.