What does 'Plan B' mean for your night out this Christmas?!

I thought I'd finished writing about all of this stuff...

By Ben Brown | Last updated 13 December 2021

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Credit: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing St

Clearly not though as a new variant of COVID-19, ‘Omicron’ has reared it’s mutated head and thus, the government has confirmed a move for England into ‘Plan B’ with provisos that will likely affect you this Christmas party season.

Here’s what the reintroduction of COVID restrictions involves…

Face Masks

This one probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the re-introduction of face masks on public transport and in shops the other week.

Anyone who’s been on the Metrolink without a mask and suffered the glares and tuts, or popped into Morrisons on Piccadilly and been accosted by that bouncer – well, you’ve probably already got your trusty mask out of the airing cupboard and are wearing it once again.

Plan B tells us that masks will now be mandatory in all public venues from this Friday, adding hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing studios to the list that already includes: shops, supermarkets, gift shops, indoor shopping centres, public transport (including taxis), banks and post offices.

You must also wear a face mask during driving tests and lessons, plus at pharmacies, vets, auction houses, retail galleries, takeaways (if people don’t eat on site), estate and lettings agents, high street solicitors and accountants.

They must also be worn in theatres, places of worship, cinemas, public libraries or community premises.

The good news for all you people that HATE masks is that there are exemptions, including times when you are eating, drinking, singing or exercising so face masks are NOT mandatory in pubs, restaurants or gyms.

COVID Passports

Probably the biggest change to the rules that will affect you and your night out this Christmas is the introduction of NHS COVID Pass requirements for entry into nightclubs and venues from the beginning of next week.

The Pass itself can be obtained with two doses of the vaccine, or a negative lateral flow test result, and will be mandatory for places where large crowds gather, including “unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.”

People are obviously fuming over this announcement, especially considering the discovery of parties held at Number 10 Downing Street last year whilst the country was on lockdown. Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord has even submitted a request to reveal if taxpayers’ money was used to fund the party.

CREDIT – Darren Robinson Photography

Anyway, it looks as if you’re going to have to get your COVID Passport all sorted ready for next week, and if you’ve not had your jabs – remember that the Pass is also valid for 48 hours after a negative PCR or Lateral Flow test, and 180 days after a positive PCR test.

A Work from Home Order

The Prime Minister has said that “we will reintroduce the guidance to work from home… from Monday you should work from home if you can.” Nice and vague once again, but I suppose this one depends on who you work for – ask your boss, it’s nowt to do with me.

That’s all for the time being, I can’t tell you that things won’t change again – but for the time being – stick to these rules and you’ll be fine.

Have a great Christmas party and there’s definitely no need to cancel any reservations.