January 2022: Return to 'Plan A'
The Government announced on 8 December 2021 new COVID-19 rules for England to help slow the spread of the virus, including the Omicron variant, and allow more people to get their booster and vaccinations.
On January 19, it was announced that the majority of these restrictions are being lifted from January 27.
From January 27 the Government will remove mandatory mask wearing, but you're still encouraged to wear a mask in crowded indoor settings. In general, the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher in crowded, enclosed spaces.
The virus spreads through the air, and if a setting is poorly ventilated, it isn’t blown away quickly. That’s why wearing masks is an easy, effective thing to do.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get a PCR test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
If you are symptomless but test positive on a rapid lateral flow, self-isolate immediately to stop the virus spreading.
The isolation period in England has been reduced to five full days. From Monday, 17 January fully jabbed people will be able to leave isolation after negative lateral flow tests on days five and six. With a second negative test people will be able to leave isolation at the start of day six.
People must test negative for coronavirus on the fifth and sixth days (with the day a positive test is recorded being day one) of their isolation period before they are allowed to leave.
Anyone who is not double vaccinated still has to self-isolate for ten days
Vaccines and boosters
As restrictions are lifted, getting jabbed helps us stop the virus spreading again.
Many people who had COVID-19 over the festive period may have had to cancel their jabs. Please re-book that booster when you can and keep yourself and others protected.
If you're 16 or over you can get boosted at your local walk-in or by booking online.
If you've had a positive COVID-19 test, you need to wait before getting any dose of the vaccine. You need to:
- wait 4 weeks (28 days) if you're aged 18 years old or over
- wait 12 weeks (84 days) if you're aged 12 to 17 years old
- wait 4 weeks (28 days) if you're aged 12 to 17 years old and at high-risk from COVID-19
This starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms.
Working from home
Working from home guidance is no longer a government requirement. Residents should speak with their employers about arrangements for returning to work safely.
From January 27 mandatory COVID-19 passes will no longer be requested at venues and events. Some venues may still request a COVID-19 pass on a voluntary basis.
Help available for residents
You could be eligible for financial help and support if you have been impacted by COVID-19 and meet certain eligibility criteria. Click here for more information, or call 020 8921 6375.
From January 20, face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms.
From 27 January masks will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries.
All children aged 12 to 15 can get a 1st dose and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (including children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination). Find out more and book a vaccine.