Last reviewed 21 January 2022

Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the success of the booster campaign and the way the public have responded to his Government’s Plan B measures (see Government to stick with Plan B until at least 26 January).

He was therefore able to confirm that the Cabinet had agreed to return to Plan A in England and to allow Plan B regulations to expire.

Back to Plan A

This means that:

  • with immediate effect, the Government is no longer asking people to work from home and they should now speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office

  • from 20 January, face masks in classrooms will no longer be required and the Department for Education (DfE) will shortly remove national guidance on their use in communal areas

  • from the start of Thursday 27 January, mandatory certification will end (although organisations may choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily)

  • from the same date, the wearing of face masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere

  • restrictions on visits to care homes in England will also be eased further, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid due to set out plans “in the coming days”

  • it is still a legal requirement for those who have tested positive for Covid to self-isolate (although the isolation period was recently reduced to five full days with two negative tests).

“The self-isolation regulations expire on 24 March, at which point I very much expect not to renew them,” Mr Johnson said. “Indeed, were the data to allow, I would like to seek a vote in this House to bring that date forwards.”

He emphasised that the Government will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded places, particularly where it means coming into contact with strangers.

“But,” he concluded, “we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”