Saturday, September 30, 2023

Compulsory facemarks will be axed from next week (and from schools tomorrow)

PRIME Minister Boris Johnson today said he is lifting Plan B Covid curbs in England.

The Prime Minister said that ‘from now’ the Government’s work from home guidance will no longer apply. 

Meanwhile, Covid passes and compulsory face masks will be axed from next Thursday after the regulations underpinning Plan B expire reports the Daily Mail.

The PM said that the Government will still ‘suggest’ to people to wear face coverings in certain ‘enclosed or crowded places’ but ‘we will trust the judgement of the British people’. 

The PM also said that there will ‘soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether’ as he said the change will be made by March 24 at the latest. 

He said that is the date when the regulations on self-isolation expire and the Government ‘very much expect not to renew them’. 

The PM said his preference is actually to ‘seek a vote in this House to bring that date forward’. 

Mr Johnson said the Government’s scientific advisers believe that the Omicron variant ‘has now peaked nationally’ and ‘the data are showing that time and again this government got the toughest decisions right’.  

Mr Johnson rolled out his Plan B curbs across England in December to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.   

The regulations underpinning the Plan B restrictions are due to expire on January 26 and the Government committed to reviewing them ahead of that date. 

Increasingly positive data means ministers are now confident they can lift work from home guidance and axe the use of Covid passes at large venues. 

Mr Johnson met with his Cabinet this morning to hammer out the way forward.  

Delivering a statement to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Johnson said that because of the booster jab campaign and the public adhering to Plan B rules ‘we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire’.

He said: ‘As a result, from the start of Thursday next week mandatory certification will end.

‘Organisations can, of course, choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily but we will end the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England.

‘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.

‘And having looked at the data carefully, the Cabinet concluded that once regulations lapse, the government will no longer mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere.

‘Mr Speaker, from tomorrow, we will no longer require face masks in classrooms, and the Department for Education will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas.

‘In the country at large, we will 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.

‘But we will trust the judgement of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.’ 


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