England returned to Plan A measures today following the success of the vaccination programme and falling Omicron infections, but face-coverings are still ‘expected’ to be worn inside the capital’s taxis and minicabs.
Plan B measures were initially introduced on 8 December 2021 to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and buy time for scientists to better understand it and get more jabs in arms.
Despite the relaxation of rules today, Transport for London (TfL) has retained conditions of carriage requiring all customers using ANY TfL service or station to wear a face covering unless they are exempt.
That means London’s transport regulators ‘expects’ and ‘recommends’ that passengers wear a face covering at all times when in a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) unless they are exempt.
That expectation extends to taxi and PHV drivers who should also continue to wear a face covering at all times when in a licensed vehicle unless they are exempt. TfL say this is to keep both drivers and passengers safe.
As of today the lifting of Plan B means:
mandatory COVID-19 certification will end, but venues may choose to use the NHS COVID Pass voluntarily;
face coverings will not be required by law in indoor venues;
local directors of public health are still able to recommend face coverings in communal areas only in education settings within their area, but only where the department and public health experts judge the measures to be proportionate - this is a temporary measure;
infection prevention control guidance continues to require face coverings be worn in health and care settings, including primary care and pharmacies;
it is suggested that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they might come into contact with people they do not normally meet; and
it is still a legal requirement for those with COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days with the option to end self-isolation after 5 full days following two negative LFD tests.
As of Wednesday 19 January, the Government no longer asked people to work from home. People are urged to speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office, and should follow the Working Safely guidance.
Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary, 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.”