What you CAN and can't do this Christmas – from seeing family to facemasks as Omicron brings festive fears

FROM spending time with your family to wearing facemasks in shops, here's what you can and can't do this Christmas as Omicron sparks festive fears.

The government has triggered Plan B Covid restrictions to battle the lightning spread of the variant across Britain.


Boris Johnson had hoped to hold off on introducing any more curbs on people's daily lives until January to give Brits a normal Christmas.

But the spread of Omicron has forced him to act.

The PM has told Brits to get their booster jabs as soon as they can, after long snaking queues were seen at vaccine centres across the country.

The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the rollout as smooth and fast as possible.

Here's what you can and can't do under the current rules.

Christmas gatherings

Brits are still allowed to hold Christmas parties.

There are no rules in place in England and Wales to limit social interactions with friends and family during the festive period.

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But ministers are advising people to take a Lateral Flow Test before heading out and mixing with others to ensure they don't have Covid.

And people have also been encouraged to meet outdoors if possible to cut the risk of catching the virus.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Witty urged people in England to prioritise social events “that really matter to them" – but there are no laws banning parties.

Mr Johnson said: "We’re not cancelling events, we’re not closing hospitality, we’re not cancelling people’s parties or their ability to mix."

Meanwhile, in Scotland, people have been asked to restrict social contact to two other households for Christmas.

In Wales, nightclubs will be closed from December 27.

And in Northern Ireland, people have been told indoor gatherings should have no more than 30 people.

Pubs and restaurants

Brits will also still be able to enjoy a Christmas tipple or meal at their favourite pub or restaurant with family and friends.

The PM hasn't announced any new restrictions on the hospitality industry, which has taken a hammering from Covid.

There will be no limit on capacity at venues and social distancing rules aren't being reintroduced.

Plan C is reportedly already being drawn up by Government chiefs in a bid to slow down the spread of Omicron.

It would see the reintroduction of table service at pubs and restaurants and vaccine passports in smaller venues.

Face masks

The rules on where people have to wear masks have been extended to cover most public venues – including theatres and cinemas.

Brits had already been told to wear face coverings on public transport and in many public places.

The rules now cover shops, post offices and banks, beauty salons and hairdressers, and taxi rides.

The PM confirmed the rules won't be extended to pubs and restaurants, gyms, or places where people sing like choir practices.

But a move to Plan C could see face coverings extended to indoor places currently exempt in Plan B, including gyms and pubs.

The government said: "Face coverings have low economic costs and can be effective in reducing transmission in public and community settings."

You are not expected to wear a mask while eating or drinking, but it is advised you wear one in "crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet".

Working from home

Brits have been asked to start working from home again to help stop the spread of Omicron.

The measure will only take the form of advice, meaning workers won't be forced to stay away from the office.

The PM said: "Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can. By reducing your contacts in the workplace you will help slow transmission."

The government said "high levels of home working have played a very important role in preventing sustained epidemic growth".

But ministers also acknowledged that working from home creates problems for some firms and has a knock-on effect on local economies.

Vaccine passports

Large venues are now required to introduce vaccine passports as a condition of entry under the new measures.

People heading out for festivities must show proof they've been vaccinated or provide a negative lateral flow test.

The restrictions will cover indoor events of more than 500 people, including venues like nightclubs.

The rules also apply to "crowded" outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000, including sports stadiums.

The government said: "Mandating vaccine-only certification would be preferable to closing venues entirely or reimposing social distancing."

Travel

The government haven't announced any new travel restrictions after the rules were tightened up over recent weeks.

Brits are still free to travel abroad for a festive break, but will have to take a pre-departure test before returning to the UK.

Arrivals also have to take a PCR swab before or on Day 2 in the country and quarantine until they get their result back.

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