Today, in a statement to the House, the Prime Minister announced that, in the coming days and weeks, we shall be returning to Plan A:
- from now, the Government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office;
- from tomorrow, the Government will no longer require face masks in classrooms, and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas;
- once regulations lapse, the Government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere - the Government continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded places, particularly where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet;
- from the start of Thursday next week, mandatory certification will end - organisations can continue to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily but the Government will end the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England;
- it will remain a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate;
- in the coming days, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care will set out plans to ease further restrictions on visits to care homes;
It is important to note that, as the Prime Minister said, the self-isolation regulations are due to expire on 24 March, at which point the Government expects to not need to renew them. The Government will also be setting out its long-term strategy for living with COVID-19, which will explain how the Government hopes and intends to avoid restrictions in future by relying instead on medical advance, such as the vaccines. The Prime Minister also encouraged everyone across the country to get boosted and continue with their cautious behaviours: washing hands, letting fresh air in, getting tested, self-isolating if positive, and wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings.