Last reviewed 26 January 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will fully return to Plan A on 27 January 2022, and that people are no longer be required to work from home and masks are no longer compulsory in secondary school classrooms with immediate effect.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the success of the vaccination programme so far means “we are now able to cautiously return to Plan A in England”.

The easement of restrictions means that Covid-19 passes will no longer be compulsory to gain entry to venues and events; face masks will no longer be compulsory in any public spaces from 27 January, although they will be still be "recommended" in some places and will remain mandatory on London’s TfL services; and restrictions on visits to care homes will be eased.

He also hopes to scrap mandatory self-isolation rules for people who test positive for Covid-19, which currently require a self-isolation period for anyone who develops symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19 for five full days. You can leave self-isolation after five full days if you have two negative LFT results, 24 hours apart. Current regulations governing these rules expire on 24 March 2022 but he said he hopes to bring that date forward.

Rules are also being eased in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, a number of restrictions which were reintroduced late last year, have now been lifted, such as nightclubs reopening and limits on the size of indoor events, of 100 standing or 200 seated, being removed. The requirement for 1m social distancing indoors and table service in hospitality venues, limits on the number of households meeting indoors, and non-professional indoor contact sports have also been lifted.

Employers still have a legal duty to let staff work from home and face coverings are compulsory on public transport and most indoor spaces.

In Wales a gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions is underway. From Friday 21 January there are no limits on numbers at outdoor events. On 28 January nightclubs will open and gatherings in pubs and restaurants will no longer be limited to six people. Covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.

In Wales, working from home wherever possible is still in place; and face coverings in schools, on public transport, and in shops and hospitals are still compulsory. Secondary school pupils are asked to test for Covid-19 three times a week.

Rules in Northern Ireland are also being eased. From 21 January rules on table service in hospitality businesses and the "rule of six" per table ended and restrictions of three households allowed to meet in a home removed. From 26 January nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, with dancing and indoor standing events permitted again; and proof of Covid-19 status will no longer be legally required in hospitality premises. The need for offices to "take reasonable measures for 2m social distancing" will be removed, although risk assessments should be carried out.

Face coverings are still compulsory in shops, indoor-seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and some other settings, and post-primary pupils must wear a face covering inside school buildings, as well as on school transport. Staff are encouraged to wear masks in school areas where they can't socially distance.