Face coverings no longer mandatory indoors as England returns to Plan A
- Credit: PA
Face coverings are no longer a legal requirement in indoor public spaces as England returns to Plan A from today.
Covid passes will also become voluntary at large events such as football matches and concerts as restrictions are eased, having previously been a requirement during Plan B restrictions.
Despite this change, government health bosses are still encouraging people to keep wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they might come into contact with people they would not normally meet.
Local health bosses will continue to be able to temporarily recommend that pupils wear face coverings in communal areas of school buildings, should they think it necessary.
Venues will also still be able to require an NHS Covid Pass before entry if they wish to do so.
The government said it had been able to ease the rules due to declining infection rates, stabilising hospital admissions and the success of the vaccine booster programme.
So far more than 37 million booster doses have been administered.
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Plan B measures were initially introduced on December 8, 2021 in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, get more people triple-vaccinated and allow scientists to better understand the new strain.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “The tireless efforts of NHS and care staff, and the army of volunteers, as well as the phenomenal response of the British public means over 37 million people have been boosted.
"I want to thank everyone who has come forward to get boosted now.
“Our vaccines, testing and antivirals ensure we have some of the strongest defences in Europe and are allowing us to cautiously return to Plan A, restoring more freedoms to this country.
“As we learn to live with Covid we need to be clear-eyed that this virus is not going away so if you haven’t already – please come forward for your first, second or booster jab.”
Despite the relaxing of restrictions, it is still a legal requirement for those with Covid to self-isolate for 10 days.
However it is possible to end self-isolation after five full days, following two negative LFD tests.