Face coverings and working from home guidance could be reinstated, according to the government’s ‘Plan B’ for winter coronavirus measures.

Yesterday (15 September), Boris Johnson presented the government’s plan to deal with the rising cases of coronavirus in England over the winter months.

There is a ‘Plan A’, the plan that the government are currently following, that is in place to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed in the winter months. This plan promotes mass vaccinations and testing over reinstating restrictions.

‘Plan A’ includes:

  • Encouraging the unvaccinated to be jabbed.
  • Offering vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds.
  • Starting the Covid booster jab programme.
  • Test and trace will continue with free PCR tests being offered to the public.
  • Encouraging the take-up of the free flu vaccine (extended to over 50s and secondary school pupils).
  • Reminding people to keep indoor areas ventilated and to wear face coverings in crowded settings (this is not mandatory under plan A).

If ‘Plan A’ is not sufficient to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, the government says that ‘Plan B’ will be required ‘as a last resort’.

‘Plan B’ includes:

  • Encouraging the public to act more cautiously.
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only Covid-status certification in certain settings. These settings include all nightclubs, indoor events with 500 or more attendees, outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, any setting with 10,000 or more attendees (i.e. large sporting events).
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
  • Encouraging the public to work from home if they can.

The government have not yet announced which settings would require a face covering.

Prior notice will be provided to the public and Parliament ahead of implementing any necessary changes in the ‘Plan B’ scenario.

These Covid winter measures will apply to England only.

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