Boris Johnson has confirmed this Wednesday, that the Government is moving to its coronavirus Plan B in the wake of rapidly increasing cases of the omicron variant.
Business leaders are demanding more clarity on what Plan B Covid restrictions in England could mean for them. They are calling for support for those businesses affected as they head into one of the busiest times of the year.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued new guidance for Britons to work from home where possible from the 13th of December, next Monday.
Face masks will also be compulsory from Friday in most indoor public venues such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship, with exemptions for certain hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants.
The Prime Minister added that vaccine passports will be required for nightclubs and other venues with large crowds as of Wednesday, with negative lateral flow tests also accepted. Daily testing would be introduced instead of isolation for those who come into contact with infected people.
Failure to help businesses and their workers in the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, according to business leaders and unions, risks wasting progress gained since pandemic restrictions were eased earlier this autumn.
After imposing working from home orders in England due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the government is under increasing pressure to reactivate furlough and other emergency financial support initiatives.
Many businesses are just beginning to recover, and this move will inevitably damage business confidence. The bottom line is that businesses need to know that governments will support them through this next period.
Concern about the Omicron variant had already eroded consumer confidence. It affects sectors of the economy where face-to-face interaction is most prominent, such as in hospitality, leisure and travel.
Hotels, pubs and restaurants had already reported a wave of Christmas party cancellations. While travel and tourist companies have seen a decline in winter holiday reservations due to tightened controls on international travels.