Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the Government’s ‘Plan B’ is to be introduced in England in an attempt to slow down the spread of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Addressing the nation from Downing Street, 8 December, prime minister Johnson confirmed that from Monday 13 December, people are advised to work from home if they can, and that proof of vaccination would be required to gain entry to what he described as ‘large events’.

There is no mandate to cancel events.

He said: “We will also make the NHS Covid pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, and seated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.”

A negative lateral flow test will also be an acceptable form of Covid status certification, alongside proof of vaccination.

The prime minister also confirmed that the wearing of face coverings indoors would once again become mandatory, including for those attending indoor events. “From this Friday [10 December] we will further extend the legal requirement to wear face masks in public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas,” he said.

Masks will still not be a requirement in hospitality settings including pubs or restaurants, and Covid status certification is not an entry requirement.

  • From Monday 13 December, guidance to work from home will be reintroduced. “Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can,” the PM said
  • Masks will be required in most indoor public venues from Friday 10 December
  • The NHS Covid pass, proving vaccination or a negative test, will be required in nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather from a week’s time

Industry response

Greg Parmley CEO of live music industry umbrella body LIVE, which represents 13 industry associations, said, “The introduction of Plan B results in an unfair double standard that allows people to go on all-day pub crawls in crowded bars without having to prove their Covid-19 status, whilst live music venues get hit with certification.

“Across the country, music venues and events already have tried, tested and workable systems in place to ensure that live events continue to be safe – and these remain effective. However, after such a prolonged closure throughout the pandemic it is important the industry is able to remain open and  that the Government have listened to the industry and included the use of lateral flow testing in Covid certification.”

Mark Davyd CEO of grassroots venue body Music Venue Trust said the organisation was pleased that the Government had listened to the sector and adopted a Covid Pass policy that recognises testing: “MVT’s #TakeaTest policy has been extremely successful in limiting infection incidents in grassroots music venues, and we welcome the news that this has been recognised in the new policy.”

This story will continue to be updated