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Covid ‘Plan C’ could mean rules for pubs and gyms return
December 10, 2021
Plan B restrictions were introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government and will take effect soon.
Mandatory mask-wearing is already in place for indoor public spaces except for hospitality.
People will also be asked to work from home from Monday, December 13 and NHS Covid passes, also known as 'vaccine passports', will be in place from December 15.
Plan B is in place to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus and slow down the new mutant strain, the Omicron variant.
There are further considerations for a 'Plan C' that could be introduced in the New Year if cases continue to surge.
So what would Plan C mean for us?
What is Covid 'Plan C' reported to mean for pubs?
Current reports suggest that under Plan C, people would have to use their NHS Covid Pass for hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants.
We would need to show our pass to gain access to anywhere we want to go out for a quick drink or a meal.
It may lead to a return to table service in pubs, though this has not yet been confirmed.
Under Plan B, vaccine passports are currently required for indoor venues like nightclubs.
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They also apply to the following conditions:
Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions
Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals
Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadiums.
Will NHS Test and Trace come back under Covid 'Plan C'
Under Plan C, hospitality venues would have to collect the contact details of all customers to help NHS Test and Trace.
Test and Trace would track down all those who have come into contact with Covid cases.
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The last time this happened, many people chose to turn off contract tracing on their NHS Covid apps due to fears that they would be 'pinged' and instructed to isolate, despite having no symptoms.
Check-ins in hospitality venues would become compulsory through either the NHS app or by providing phone and email contacts.
What will lead to 'Plan C' being triggered?
Plan C would depend on Covid cases surging once again, although there doesn't seem to be specific criteria for this just yet.
The government would assess the reinfection rate, known as the 'R-rate', and the number of cases at the time.
Chief among the concerns of scientific experts is the Omicron variant. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not confirmed if the virus is more transmissible, has more severe symptoms, or is more resistant to vaccines.
However, early but unconfirmed estimates believe Omicron to be more transmissible than other variants.
More transmissions, in theory, mean more hospital cases and there is a chance that a high number of cases will put the NHS under huge strain.