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This page was last updated on 24/12/2021

The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

This means:

  • From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
  • From 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
  • From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.

Following this guidance will help you to understand the steps that you can take to stay safe and protect others from the spread of COVID-19. Every action you can take to help reduce the spread will help reduce pressure on the NHS during the winter months.

Click here for full details on the latest government guidance

Keep yourself and others safe

All adults in England have now been offered at least 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against COVID-19.

If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. Evidence indicates that 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine provide very effective protection against hospitalisation. It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for your body to develop its protective response.

To maintain this high level of protection through the coming winter, you should also get a booster vaccine for COVID-19 when offered. Winter is a difficult time when our immunity is weaker. Getting the booster vaccine is an essential part of ensuring immune defence this season.

However, even if you have been fully vaccinated, you could still get COVID-19 and pass it on to others. Whilst the vaccines provide a high level of protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death, a recent UKHSA report shows that around 1 in 5 people who have had both doses are still vulnerable to getting infected with the Delta variant and showing symptoms. You can also still spread COVID-19 to others. We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and to reduce the risk of new variants developing and spreading.

Following the advice in this guidance will help you to protect your friends, family, and communities, including those who have been vaccinated.

Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13 December. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work – for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries. If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.

Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.

For those who attend their workplace, the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidance on how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. Businesses should consider this guidance when preparing their health and safety risk assessments, and put in place suitable mitigations.

Face Coverings

From Friday 10 December the public, and staff in public facing areas, are legally required to wear face coverings in the following settings:

  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and letting agents
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (barbers, hair salons, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons and massage centres)
  • pharmacies
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • retail galleries
  • retail travel agents
  • takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
  • auction houses
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and letting agents
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • pharmacies
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • retail galleries
  • retail travel agents
  • public facing funeral offices
  • takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • polling stations and premises used for the counting of votes
  • places of worship
  • crematoria and burial ground chapels
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, indoor theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, indoor areas at aquariums, zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, indoor theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • adult entertainment venues
  • indoor areas of open-air sports stadiums
  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams, buses, coaches and ferries), taxis and private hire vehicles
  • any car or small van during a professionally delivered driving lesson, a practical driving test, or during one of the practical tests for giving driving instruction, and in all HGV lessons and tests
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • motorway service areas

Face coverings are only legally required in the settings listed above. Customers, visitors or staff may choose to wear face coverings in any other setting where face coverings are not legally required including places of worship, cinemas, public libraries or community premises. Employers and businesses should support people, including staff, if they choose to wear a face covering in these settings, as well as other settings not listed above.

Face coverings are required in shops within other premises such as visitor attractions, for example a museum gift shop.

While not mandatory, you should continue to wear a face covering in indoor places, which are crowded and enclosed and where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are not legally required in hospitality settings given that they cannot be worn while eating and drinking. They are also not legally required in exercise facilities including gyms, dance studios, swimming pools or leisure centres.

Click here for more information on face coverings

NHS Covid Pass

From Wednesday 15 December, if you are aged 18 or over, to enter certain venues and events in England you must have proof that you: 

  • are vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine) 
  • have taken a PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours, or 
  • are exempt from vaccination or vaccination and testing on the basis of a medical exemption or clinical trial participation 

You should take tests as late as possible before attending the event, ideally within 12 hours. This will strengthen the protection testing provides. 

Click here for more information on the NHS Covid pass 

You can access your NHS COVID Pass through:

  • the NHS App
  • NHS UK
  • A letter that you can obtain on NHS.UK or by calling 119
  • nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
  • other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:
    • open between 1am and 5am
    • serve alcohol during this time
    • have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing)
    • provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as music venues with standing audiences, or large receptions)
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as outdoor festivals)
  • any events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor (such as large sports and music events)

Click here for more information on the NHS Covid pass 

There are also some events where you will not need to prove your COVID-19 status in order to attend. These include: 

  • communal worship 
  • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies) 
  • receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution or a public body) 
  • funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub) 
  • outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals) 
  • events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter 

Click here for more information on the NHS Covid pass 

Testing

Get tested and self-isolate

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This is the law.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, even if your symptoms are mild, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, for example if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. This remains the law, regardless of your vaccination status.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will still need to self-isolate regardless of your vaccination status or age. When self-isolating, follow the stay-at-home guidance. You must self-isolate from the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days, or from the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms and the next 10 full days. Self-isolating is important because you could pass the infection on to others, even if you do not have symptoms. You must isolate for the full amount of time you are told to, because this is the period when the virus is most likely to be passed on to others.

You may be able to end your self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days. You can take a daily LFD test from the sixth day of your isolation period, and another LFD test on the following day. The second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result. You should not take an LFD test before the sixth day of your isolation period, and you should only end your self-isolation following 2 consecutive negative LFD tests which should be taken at least 24 hours apart.

You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate, or you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate. Click here for more information

You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following notification by NHS Test & Trace.

In most cases, you’re not required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply: 

  • you’re fully vaccinated
  • you’re below the age of 18 years 6 months 
  • you’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial 
  • you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons 

If you are aged 5 years and over and have been identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19, and you are not legally required to self-isolate, you are now strongly advised to: 

  • take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days 
  • take this daily lateral flow test before you leave your home for the first time that day 

If any of these lateral flow tests are positive, you should immediately self-isolate in order to protect other people. 

NHS Test and Trace will contact youto let you know that you have been identified as a contact and check whether you are legally required to self-isolate.  

Click here for testing in Fylde 

If you have previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result, you are not usually advised to be re-tested within 90 days of this result. However, you should have a PCR test within 90 days of a previous positive PCR test if: 

  • you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19 
  • you are required to take a PCR test upon entry into the UK 

If you are tested within 90 days of a positive PCR test result for either of these reasons, and the PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate and follow the stay at home guidance. 

You can find further guidance for household contacts and guidance for non-household contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19 infections. 

Support in Fylde

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate you may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 if you are on a lower income and cannot work from home, losing income as a result. The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme in Fylde is now live. Click here for the full eligibility criteria and to apply for the scheme.

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