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So… what is ‘Plan C’? Here’s everything you need to know about the UK’s next restrictions

The British government has hinted at further measures – but hasn’t revealed comprehensive plans yet

Written by
Time Out contributors

As you almost definitely know by now, the UK has moved into a new tier of ‘Plan B’ restrictions. Faced with rising infection rates and the more transmissible Omicron variant, the country has announced new measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 and keep the virus from overwhelming the health system.

So, what are the rules? Well, working from home is now strongly encouraged. Face masks are now compulsory on public transport and in most indoor public spaces (but not in hospitality) and the NHS health pass has been made compulsory in specific settings like clubs and large venues. So we shouldn’t work in the office but we can go partying. Makes total sense, right?

If you ask us, that doesn’t necessarily sound like the most foolproof plan to stop the spread of a virus. So that got us thinking: what’s next? And what’s the UK’s ‘Plan C’?

It turns out that the government has already – kind of – laid out a potential new tier of restrictions. In October, a scientific adviser said that Plan C had already been considered, and that it could potentially involve banning household mixing at Christmas. In other words, families across the UK could, for the second year running, be denied spending the festive period together.

The government itself, meanwhile, has completely denied the existence of Plan C. Which is no surprise, really. Banning household mixing over Christmas would be tremendously unpopular. But after two years of contradictions and confusion, this kind of indecision is pretty much what people have come to expect from the government’s Covid guidance and regulations.

So what about the dreaded ‘L’ word? Well, lockdowns might not be so far away. Recent Covid outbreaks in Europe have seen harsh restrictions reintroduced on a national level. The Netherlands is in partial lockdown, and Austria and parts of Germany have imposed lockdown restrictions on the unvaccinated.  

It isn’t that much of a stretch to see similar restrictions enforced in the UK. Plan C or D (or E) could see some form of lockdown applied to certain areas, unvaccinated people – or even the entire country.  

While the UK waits for whatever further action is yet to come, there are still plenty of ways to keep yourself and others safe. Get your booster, wear a mask in enclosed public spaces and test yourself regularly – and hopefully we can avoid further restrictions and have a somewhat normal Christmas.

Here’s everything you need to know about the UK’s Plan B – and the country’s latest travel restrictions.

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