Full list of things you can and can't do in England under new 'Plan B' Covid rules

10 December 2021, 10:26

Here's the new Plan B Covid rules
Here's the new Plan B Covid rules. Picture: Alamy/Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Here’s the Plan B Covid restrictions explained, and when the rules start in England.

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On Wednesday, Boris Johnson announced England would be triggering ‘Plan B’ for Covid as the Omicron variant surges.

Scientists warned cases of the new strain are doubling in just 2.5 to three days.

But what are the new rules and when do they come into force? Here’s what we know…

Boris Johnson held a press conference
Boris Johnson held a press conference. Picture: Alamy

Working from home

Mr Johnson has reintroduced the guidance to work from home.

He told the press conference: “From Monday you should work from home if you can. Go to work if you must but work from home if you can.”

The winter plan admitted: "The Government recognises this causes more disruption and has greater immediate costs to the economy and some businesses than the other Plan B interventions.”

Covid passports

As of Wednesday (December 15) at 6am, venues will have to ask customers for an NHS Covid pass.

You now need Covid passports to get into big venues
You now need Covid passports to get into big venues. Picture: Alamy

As well as accepting proof of a double vaccination, the PM said ‘a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient’ to allow people into big venues.

The venues include nightclubs, and other places which are open after 1am with alcohol, music, and dancing.

They also include:

  • Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees.
  • Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity.
  • Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.

Face masks

Face masks were already made mandatory by law in England’s shops, public transport, banks and post offices on November 28.

Face masks are mandatory in shops
Face masks are mandatory in shops. Picture: Alamy

They are also compulsory in hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing studios.

On Wednesday, Boris said this rule will be extended to ‘most public indoor venues’ which includes theatres and cinemas.

They’re also necessary in pharmacies, vets, takeaways, solicitors and accountants.

This rule comes into force from 12.01am this Friday (December, 10).

There is no need for masks in hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants.

Those who do not comply can be fined £200 for a first offence and this doubles on each repeat offence up to £6,400.

The travel rules have changed in the UK
The travel rules have changed in the UK. Picture: Alamy


Since the end of last month, all arrivals in the UK have to take a paid-for PCR test within 48 hours of arriving and isolate until they get a negative result.

Now, holidaymakers also have to take another pre-departure test before coming back to the UK.

Eleven countries were also added to England’s red list, including large areas of South Africa.

Daily testing

It was previously revealed that anyone who has come into contact with someone with the new Omicron variant must isolate for 10 days.

But the PM has said the government will introduce daily tests for contacts instead of isolation in the coming weeks.