Covid rules: When Plan B restrictions end – key dates this week

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Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that as a result of the roll-out of boosters and how people had adhered to Plan B measures they would be withdrawn before the month was out. Originally, the rules were introduced to help mitigate the impacts of the Covid variant Omicron. So now they’ve been deemed to have served their purpose, when will they officially be taken off the table?

During last Wednesday’s session of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) Mr Johnson revealed that all Plan B rules will be removed in England by this Thursday (January 27).

The PM could have triggered an extension beyond their expiry date of January 26 but opted against this, owing to the progress that had been made in the past month de-escalating the country’s Covid situation.

Several of the Plan B restrictions have already come to an end but a number will remain in force for several more days to come.

So, exactly what rules will be ending over the next week? brings you a full guide to every restriction and what date it is ending in England and Wales.

Face masks indoors

Most indoor venues have required people in England to wear face coverings for more than a month now.

Theatres, indoor sports arenas and cinemas are all examples of facilities that have had to operate under these circumstances.

Nonetheless, from January 27 this rule will no longer be in force although the Government is still advising individuals to wear coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when meeting strangers.

Key date: Thursday, January 27

NHS Covid Passes

Since early December anyone looking to enter a nightclub, other late-night venues, indoor events with more than 500 people, outdoor ones with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people has required a valid NHS Covid Pass to do so.

In fact, when the rule was passed into law during a House of Commons vote it led to a revolt from 100 of Mr Johnson’s own MPs.

However, as part of his statement in the Commons the PM confirmed mandatory Covid passports for entering nightclubs and large events would end.

Organisations can still choose to use the NHS Covid Pass though if they wish to.

Key date: Thursday, January 27

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Which Plan B rules have already ended?

Since the middle of last week people have been able to go back to their place of work after the advice to work from home where possible for English residents was discontinued.

The rule had been in place from December 13 but the PM announced that workers could now discuss their return to the office with employers.

Last Thursday also represented the final day that secondary school children were required to wear face coverings while in classrooms, having been told to do so following their return from the Christmas holidays.

What other rules are still in place?

Mr Johnson has said that he expects not to renew self-isolation rules that are currently in place once they pass their expiry date on March 24.

If the data allows, he said the Government would “seek a vote in this House to bring that date forward”.

However, he added that for now, the self-isolation guidelines would remain in force.

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