Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wednesday 8 December about the move to Plan B, the Showmen’s Guild, as an Events Industry trade association, has received communication from the DCMS Tourism Team outlining the changes.
The changes apply to England only – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own regulations as devolved nations.
Plan B includes face coverings being mandated in public indoor spaces and the legal requirement for Covid status certification (vaccine passports or negative lateral flow tests) in certain indoor and outdoor venues, as well as asking people to work from home where possible,
Covid status certification
Covid status certification – an NHS Covid Pass showing vaccination status or recent negative lateral flow test – will become mandatory in certain settings from Wednesday 15 December to gain entry to:
• Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people (which could include indoor Winter Wonderlands)
• Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, including some types of events and visitor attractions (which may include fairs & Christmas markets if defined as venues, especially if enclosed, but not if fewer people are there at any one time)
• Any venue with more than 10,000 people (which will include larger fairs & Christmas markets if defined as venues, especially if enclosed, with 10,000 or more people there at any one time)
The regulations will come into force at 6am on Wednesday 15 December.
From Friday 10 December face coverings are mandatory for most indoor public venues as well as on public transport and in shops and hairdressers.
Pubs and restaurants are exempted, as are venues like gyms where it is not practical to wear them.
Working from home
People are asked to work from home where possible from Monday 13 December.
Whilst this may not affect Guild members directly, it may mean there are fewer people in the streets, available to attend outdoor events.
Close contacts of positive cases
The Prime Minister also announced the introduction of daily tests in place of automatic self-isolation for close contacts of positive cases, as a way to “keep people safe while minimising disruption”.
All the details will be clarified in Guidance, being prepared for next week once Parliament has voted on the measures on Monday 13 December. Guidance on the government website will be updated to reflect these changes in the coming days.
The DCMS letter added that “Ministers have decided to implement these measures because Omicron cases are now doubling every two or three days. The government is now communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave cautiously.”
People in Scotland have been urged to cancel Christmas parties due to the rising number of cases of the Omicron Covid variant.
• Adults and children aged 12 and over have to wear face coverings in all the same indoor settings as in level zero, such as shops, hospitality venues and public transport.
• In hospitality venues, face coverings can be removed while dancing, drinking and dining. Drinking at the bar is allowed in pubs.
• Indoor hospitality venues still have to collect the contact details of customers to help with Test and Protect.
• The 2m social distancing rule remains in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and dentists.
• Under the vaccine passport scheme, introduced in October, anyone over the age of 18 must show proof – if asked – that they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:
• Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
• Unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in the audience
• Unseated outdoor live events for more than 4,000 people
• Any event, of any nature, attended by more than 10,000 people
• Proof of a negative lateral flow test will also now be accepted.
Close contacts of those who test positive for Covid no longer have to automatically self-isolate as long as two weeks have passed since they received their second dose of the vaccine, and they have no symptoms. They must, however, take a PCR test as soon as possible and can end self-isolation if this comes back negative.
• If someone aged between five and 17 years old is identified as a close contact, they will need to take a PCR test, but can end self-isolation if it comes back negative.
• However, all contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be contacted by their local contact tracing system and required to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
The Scottish government has continued to advise people to work from home where possible – “until mid-January…”.
The Welsh government has now asked people to wear face coverings in pubs and restaurants when they aren’t eating or drinking. The new rules will come into force from Saturday 11 December.
Wearing a face covering indoors remains the law for most other indoor places, including cinemas and theatres. The government has also “strongly advised” that people take a lateral flow test before going out whether to a Christmas party, Christmas shopping, visiting friends or family as well as going to any crowded or busy place or before travelling.
In Wales, the devolved government has a set of regulations that are similar
to those now in place in England.
• People are already asked to work from home where they can.
• Covid passes are required in more venues than in England.
• Mask wearing has remained mandatory in many indoor public places, including shops, public transport, hospitals and social care settings. (In an announcement on Friday 10 December, people are now asked to wear face coverings in pubs and restaurants when they aren’t eating or drinking. The new rules came into force today, Saturday 11 December).
From Monday 13 December, Covid Passes are required at venues such as nightclubs, bars, licensed restaurants, cinemas, theatres and events.
People have been asked to work from home where possible.
It remains a legal requirement for people to wear face coverings on public transport,
in shops and indoor attractions, unless they are exempt.
Organisers of indoor gatherings in a non-domestic setting are still required to carry out a risk assessment to determine the maximum number of people permitted.
Cafes, restaurants and pubs are required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect programme.
No more than 30 people from an unlimited number of households can meet inside a home.