With cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant steadily on the rise, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement about Plan B measures coming into force from Friday 10th December, what does this mean for businesses? Understandably there are concerns about how the new measures will affect the economy, and in particular the Hospitality and Leisure industry. Businesses that rely on office workers, from cafes and restaurants to office supplies and transport will be considering the impact of the new advice to work from home, and what the economic impact will be. Our team of HR and Health & Safety Consultants have reviewed the Plan B measures, and provided practical guidance to help employers and businesses make sense of the new restrictions.
Plan B & Face Coverings
From Friday 10 December, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings. Face coverings regulations will be laid in Parliament on 9th December, with the remaining regulations laid on Monday 13 December.
Plan B & Working from Home
Working from home is not compulsory under Plan B, but the UK Government has stated that employees in England should work from home if they can from 13th December. This shift brings England in line with the position of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the request to work from home, if possible, had already been made. While formal consultation will not be required in these circumstances, you should use the next few days to communicate with your employees and make any necessary arrangements to enable a return to home working.
These measures are a change only in England from Dec 13th. ‘Working from home if you can’ was already in place in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
NHS Covid Pass
From Wednesday 15 December, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
A full list of guidance on these changes will be published in the coming days. Parliament will debate the measures next week, with a vote expected to take place on Tuesday 14 December.
If you have questions surrounding the new restrictions and how they affect your business specifically please get in touch with our consultancy team today.