What is in Plan B?
As you will doubtless be aware, following a vote in the Commons, England is now moving to ‘Plan B’. This is in response to the appearance and rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and is intended to reduce pressure on the NHS while allowing the current booster programme to have the required effect.
What is in Plan B?
The measures in the Plan include:
Mandatory facemasks in most indoor settings;
Those who can work from home should do so where practical;
Introducing mandatory NHS pass certification for large events;
A new system of daily contact testing.
As of Friday 10th December, face coverings are now mandatory in most indoor settings and on public transport, including taxis. There are exemptions where face coverings are not practical, such as in hospitality settings including cafes, restaurants and pubs, or in nightclubs and other night-time dance venues.
Staff in those mandatory settings will also be required to wear face coverings when they are in a part that is open to the public. Staff may also wear face coverings when working in settings where face coverings are not required, and businesses are encouraged to support them in doing so
Working from home
From Monday 13th December, people who can work from home have been advised to do so in order to reduce contact with others both in the workplace and on public transport.
Employers should discuss working arrangements with employees and encourage any employees who have to continue going into work to take regular tests to manage their own risk and the risks to others.
NHS Covid pass
From Wednesday 15th December, visitors have been required to show their NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry to certain venues and events in England. People can acquire an NHS COVID Pass via 2 full doses of vaccination, or proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours.
Certification is required in:
All nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques, and any other venue that: – is open between 1am and 5am; – serves alcohol during this period; – has a dance floor or space for dancing to be used by members of the public; and, – provides music for dancing
indoor events with 500 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event;
outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event; and,
very large events with 10,000 or more attendees, irrespective of how many attendees are seated.
Daily Contact Testing
A policy of Daily Contact Testing will be introduced as soon as possible as an alternative to self-isolation for fully vaccinated contacts of positive cases. This would break chains of transmission while also protecting against workforce shortages. Details on this are currently being finalised and will be published shortly.
rradar – here for you
This new development will, of course, increase the levels of disruption and uncertainty for England’s employers and the support and guidance of rradar’s legal and advisory teams will be all the more important. If you have any queries about how the new rules will affect your business or employees, don’t hesitate to contact us.