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9th December 2021

New Covid rules for England

The government has announced new Covid rules for England, in response to concern over the Omicron variant

It says people should work from home where possible and will have to show their Covid status for entry to many venues.

What are the new measures for England?

• From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be mandatory for most indoor public venues including places of worship, theatres and cinemas, as well as in shops and on public transport.

Masks will still not be needed in hospitality settings such as pubs or restaurants, nor in venues where it is “not practical to wear them” (for instance, where exercise or singing takes place).

From Monday 13 December, people should work from home “if they can”.

From Wednesday 15 December (subject to parliamentary approval), people will need an NHS Covid Pass – or a negative lateral flow test – to gain entry to:
• Nightclubs
• Indoor seated venues with more than 500 people
• Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people
• Any venue with more than 10,000 people

What rules are already in place?

• Pupils at secondary schools are being “strongly advised” to wear face coverings in communal areas; the guidance also applies to staff and visitors at all schools and childcare settings
• Secondary school pupils in Wales are being urged to wear face masks in classrooms and communal areas; staff and students in colleges and universities should also wear face coverings inside
• 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
• Anyone travelling to the UK has to take a PCR or Lateral Flow Test no more than 48 hours before their departure, and take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival in the UK – they must self-isolate until they have a negative result
• 1m-plus social distancing remains in places such as hospitals and passport control
• People are advised to test for Covid before going to crowded places or spending time with those at greater risk
• Anyone testing positive has to self-isolate

Please note: Separate guidance applies to the devolved nations as shown below – please click on the links below:



Northern Ireland

What’s happening with boosters?

The booster campaign is being stepped up:
• Booster jabs will be offered to all over-18s
• The gap between second dose and booster will be reduced to three months from six
• People with weakened immune systems will be offered a fourth dose – as a booster – no sooner than three months after their third
• Children aged 12 to 15 will be invited for a second dose, three months after their first

Vulnerable people will be contacted first, followed by older age groups, then younger ones.
People are being urged not to try to book their booster until the NHS says it’s their turn.

Every eligible person in England and Scotland should be able to book their booster by the end of January – although some may be given at a later date.

In England, jabs will be rolled out at 1,500 community pharmacy sites and extra hospital hubs.

Wales will increase capacity in clinics and drive-through centres and will work with GPs and others – including soldiers and firefighters – to deliver vaccines.

Northern Ireland has announced extra vaccination clinics.

Scotland says it will set out its approach “very soon”.