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COVID passes and masks for theatres, cinemas in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (Wednesday) announced that England will move to Plan B in a bid to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The update means the introduction of the NHS COVID Pass for entry into nightclubs and large events, which will begin Wednesday 15 December. In a statement, the UK Government said: “Introducing COVID-status certification from next Wednesday will give businesses a week’s notice.”

The NHS COVID Pass on the NHS App will be needed to prove that attendees have received two doses of the vaccine against coronavirus. Unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, and any event with 10,000 or more attendees will require the COVID Pass for entry in England.

From tomorrow (Friday) face coverings will also be mandatory in indoor public venues such as theatres and cinemas. At present, face coverings are only mandatory in shops and on public transport. However, masks are not needed in hospitality settings such as pubs or restaurants, which chief executive of live music and entertainment body LIVE, Greg Parmley, has called “an unfair double standard”.

Parmley said: “The introduction of Plan B results in an unfair double standard that allows people to go on all-day pub crawls in crowded bars without having to prove their COVID-19 status, whilst live music venues get hit with certification.

“Across the country, music venues and events already have tried, tested and workable systems in place to ensure that live events continue to be safe – and these remain effective. However, after such a prolonged closure throughout the pandemic it is important the industry is able to remain open and that the Government has listened to the industry and included the use of lateral flow testing in COVID certification.”

English Premier League club Liverpool has suspended ticket sales for its upcoming match with Newcastle United, as it waits for “confirmation on the specifics” of Plan B.

In a statement, the club said: “Following the UK Government’s latest announcement on a move to Plan B, the scheduled Newcastle United ticket sales on Thursday December 9 will now be delayed.

“Confirmation on the specifics around the new guidance and what it means for fans is pending additional Premier League and Government advice. This change is due to the increasing transmission rates of COVID-19 and the new variant of concern.

“Liverpool FC would like to thank supporters for their patience and understanding as the club navigates its way through the new policy change.”

The UK Government’s statement said that a full list of guidance on the changes will be made available over the coming days.

Image: Jonatan Moerman on Unsplash