Plan B Announcement & BuDS Reaction

The Government have announced the return of a few weak precautions against Covid-19 from next Monday, bringing England broadly back into line with the precautions already in force in Scotland & Wales. However, nowhere has been closed and, incredibly, the Prime Minister is still encouraging people to socialise over Christmas as normal. Read on for more…


Assuming extremist backbenchers do not rebel, the following Covid-19 precautions will be legally compulsory in England from the dates shown:

  • From Friday 10 December, people will have to wear a face mask (unless they are exempt) in most indoor public places including cinemas and theatres. But no face covering will be needed in ‘areas where eating, drinking, exercising or singing takes place’. This appears to mean that face coverings will not be compulsory in nightclubs, gyms, restaurants and pubs, but this isn’t clear yet.
  • From Monday 13 December, the Government will officially encourage people to work from home if they can.
  • From ‘next week’, showing a valid NHS Covid Pass will be required to enter nightclubs and areas with very large crowds, although a single unverified negative lateral flow test at home will be sufficient to get a pass. People will not have to be vaccinated to get a valid NHS Covid Pass.
  • Extraordinarily, one precaution is being lifted. From ‘next week’, people in close contact with a Covid-19 infected person will not have to self-isolate but instead can take a daily lateral flow test at home. If the test is negative (and lateral flow kits are notorious for false negatives), then the contact can mix with others as normal. This is probably to prevent another ‘pingdemic’, where close contacts of infected people couldn’t work because they had been required to self-isolate.

The Prime Minister expressed his hope that, if vaccines and boosters turn out to be able to ‘hold Omicron in equilibrium’, these precautions will be abolished again. Remember, currently around 1000 people are dying of Covid-19 every week and hospitals are struggling to cope with Covid-19 patients. Only in England would this horrific situation be thought an acceptable ‘state of equilibrium’ which could allow precautions to be lifted completely.


The Government is not introducing Covid-19 precautions which nearly every other Western country has introduced:

  • Crowded places where mass infection happens like stadiums, music venues, shopping centres, nightclubs, theatres and pubs will remain open as usual and there will be no limits on numbers.
  • Face coverings are not being made compulsory in schools and schools are not being closed early.
  • Vaccination of children under 11 is not being introduced and children aged 12 to 15 are still only going to have one dose of vaccine.
  • There is no reintroduction of social distancing.
  • Vaccination will not be made compulsory and unvaccinated people will not be excluded from public places by ‘vaccine passports’.
  • The Covid Pass is not going to require a verified laboratory negative PCR test.
  • The Prime Minister made it clear in questions that he still encouraged people to have a normal Christmas and to go to Christmas parties and social gatherings.


The Government is reacting to the rapid spread in England of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. Omicron is much easier to catch than Delta, the current main variant of Covid-19, and it is spreading with incredible speed. Cases are doubling every 2-3 days. With this rate of increase, it is inevitable that more people will get sick, go into hospital and die of Covid-19 simply because lots more people will be infected compared to Delta.

On top of this frightening infectiousness, there is a lot of scientific evidence that people vaccinated with only two doses of vaccine are not properly protected against Omicron and may be more likely to get seriously ill or die than if they had caught Delta. For this reason, the NHS is now offering booster or third vaccine doses to all adults after 3 months have passed since their second dose. Having had Covid-19 before is not thought to offer much, if any, protection against catching Omicron.

It is not yet known if Omicron makes people sicker or kills more people than Delta. However, as explained above, if more people catch Omicron than catch Delta, and if vaccinated people are more at risk from Omicron than Delta, then the numbers of people getting ill, going into hospital and dying will inevitably go up even if Omicron is no more dangerous than Delta. It certainly isn’t less dangerous, as some media have claimed.


The Government is being held hostage by 60 or so extremist backbenchers who will not vote for tough Covid-19 precautions and who might at any time try to bring down the Prime Minister (who personally is also anti-Covid precautions). So, the Government is trying to do as little as possible while recognising that Omicron is a really dangerous threat to health in England. The Government is desperately hoping the voluntary booster jab programme will bring Omicron under control, because politically it can’t introduce the sort of effective precautions seen in other countries.

This vacuum of power means that people have to look after their own safety, regardless of what the Government are saying or doing. BuDS urges everyone to think carefully about how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe. We recommend:

  • Keeping away as much as possible from people who might infect you is the first and best line of defence against catching Omicron. This means working from home if you can, shopping online, avoiding pubs and restaurants and other crowded places, and as far as possible staying in a small family bubble.
  • Schools and colleges are where Omicron and Delta are spreading fastest. While appreciating the difficulties, taking children out of school for the last two weeks of term, or not going into school if you’re staff, is probably the single biggest thing you can do to stay away from Omicron. We urge you to look into how and whether you can do this.
  • But stay in touch with loved ones and people who can support you – but do that safely. Ask people to do a couple of lateral flow tests before visiting you, and test yourself before visiting them.
  • Meet in ventilated places where you aren’t breathing in other people’s breath – outside is ideal but open windows wide if meeting indoors. Omicron, like Delta, is an airborne virus and spreads in the breath of infected people, so breathing clean fresh air is vital. Remember, the virus will hang in the air like invisible smoke in any place where people are gathering unless there is a wind to blow it away.
  • Get a reliable, close-fitting N95 or FFPE2 PPE (personal protective equipment) reusable mask. These are widely available online but choose a reliable branded supplier rather than an anonymous Amazon seller if you can. These masks filter viruses out of the air and offer much more protection to you than a cloth mask.
  • Wearing cloth masks in public places and washing hands regularly are still important, but are far less likely to protect you from Omicron.


If you need information or have questions about Covid-19, or you need practical help or support, or just a friendly chat to share worries or ease loneliness, BuDS is here for you. Contact us on social media, e-mail or leave us a voicemail on 01494 211179.

If you need to prove you are legally exempt from wearing a face covering, or to get a lanyard which proves you have a legal right for people to socially distance from you, you can apply for a Fair4All Card at The Card can also help you get any other support you’re legally entitled to receive when out and about.