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

In summary, the new rules are as follows

  • From today (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

It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Plan B prioritises measures that can help control the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

Work from home where possible

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 are being asked to 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.

Council to continue to provide services

The council reminds residents that the COVID-19 vaccination is the best protection against the virus. It also strongly advises people to have the booster when it is offered.

The holding of public meetings is being considered by each committee chairperson and meetings may be cancelled due to the recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones, the council’s acting director of public health, says:

“It is really important that we follow government rules and guidance and take up COVID-19 vaccination, to keep infection rates to an absolute minimum in the county. By keeping ourselves safe, we also help our friends, family and other vulnerable people. In keeping infection rates down, we will also help prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed over the winter period, which is already a particularly busy time for our doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

“From today (Friday 10 December), the new rule means you must wear a face mask in most indoor public places, on public transport and taxis. Office workers have been told to work from home if possible from Monday 13 December. And, from Wednesday 15 December, proof of full vaccinations will be needed at certain venues and events.

“Therefore, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated. If and when you do meet others indoors, make sure you let fresh air flow through the space. This reduces the chances of you inhaling infectious particles released by others. It is also why it is safer to meet people outdoors.

“It’s also important to take a lateral flow test whenever you plan to meet others. The tests are available free of charge from pharmacies and online.

“Please remember that certain places, such as health and care settings, schools and prisons, have their own specific testing rules and guidance. You should always make sure you are aware of their guidance if you visit or work in those places.”

You can find out more about how to keep Herefordshire safe and how to book a vaccination by visiting: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/safehere.

Stay up to date with all government advice on coronavirus by visiting: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

This government list also provides full details of where to wear masks, exemptions and how to make your own.

 

 

 

Published: 10th December 2021