Covid-19: Face masks required in more indoor venues in England
Face coverings are now compulsory in most indoor venues in England, under measures to tackle the Omicron variant. The new rules require people to wear masks in locations including theatres, cinemas, places of worship, museums and indoor sport stadiums.
Further changes start next week under the government's move to so-called Plan B Covid restrictions.
The new rules are being introduced to buy time against the Omicron variant amid a "credible risk" of a crisis in the NHS.
A further 249 cases of the Omicron variant were recorded in the UK on Thursday 9 December, taking the total number to be identified to 817. However, the true figure is believed to be much higher.
The Health Secretary, Mr Javid said the evidence was that Omicron was doubling every 2.5 or three days, which could mean a million infections by the end of the month as it takes over from the Delta variant in the UK.
Other nations of the UK - which are in charge of their own Covid rules - have already brought in stricter restrictions similar to Plan B.
The updated rules mean the public, and staff in public facing areas, will also now be required to wear face coverings in community centres, members clubs, libraries, bingo halls, snooker, halls, casinos, skating rinks and bowling alleys. However, they are not compulsory in hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants, nor in places where it is "not practical to wear them", like gyms.
Under the other changes for England:
- From Monday, people will be asked to work from home where possible
- From Wednesday, the NHS Covid Pass - proving vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test - will also be required for visitors to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people
People will be exempt from showing a Covid passport when attending religious worship, weddings and funerals.
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