The UK Government confirmed this (Wednesday) lunchtime that so-called ‘Plan B’ restrictions will be eased in England from Thursday, January 27, meaning COVID-19 passes will no longer be required for entering sport and entertainment venues, events and nightclubs.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced that face masks will no longer be required, but should be considered in crowded spaces.

COVID-19 passes were made mandatory in England in December due to a sharp rise in cases of the Omicron variant, with proof of double vaccination needed to enter nightclubs and venues. The vaccine pass was also needed for 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.

Johnson also said that businesses could continue to use the COVID-19 pass for entry if they wished.

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said: “We welcome the removal of the restrictions for the night time economy and hospitality sector. Following an extremely difficult two years for the night time economy and hospitality sector, which has been, in every sense, at the sharpest end of the pandemic throughout, we are finally able to plan for the future with some level of certainty and without debilitating restrictions.

“With the devastating losses over the festive period, and the effects of limited cash flow being felt across the sector, our industry has been placed in an extremely fragile state, and without question will need further financial relief and support to survive.”

Kill added: “Experts believe it will take several years for the hospitality and night time economy sectors to recover, but it is important that the Government don’t simply assume the sector will be fine because restrictions have been eased. More support will be needed.”

Scotland also announced yesterday that the additional measures placed on venues and nightclubs in Scotland over the winter will be removed from Monday next week. This includes capacity limits on indoor events and physical distancing in leisure and hospitality settings.

Nightclubs are also able to re-open in the country.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Because of the vaccination programme, and the efforts we have all made to curb transmission, our position is not as difficult as feared back in December.

“That is why we were able to lift the limits on outdoor events yesterday and why we are lifting other restrictions from next Monday.”

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