Covid Plan B: do I need to wear a mask in bars, restaurants and nightclubs this weekend

With Plan B restrictions coming to an end, we’ve taken a look at what the rules will be for those going on a night out this weekend

Plan B restrictions are to be scrapped in England, the Prime Minister announced earlier this week.

Boris Johnson told PMQs that the rules, which were introduced in December to curb rapidly rising Omicron cases, will be removed in response to steadily declining infections.

Latest figures show the Omicron wave appears to have peaked nationally, while Covid-related hospital admissions have stabilised.

In Birmingham, Covid cases fell by 13% from the week to 13 January.

On January 27, people will also not legally have to wear a face masks in any settingOn January 27, people will also not legally have to wear a face masks in any setting
On January 27, people will also not legally have to wear a face masks in any setting

So with Plan B set to come to an end, what are the rules this weekend and do people need to wear a mask?

Here’s what you need to know.

There will be staggered dates for the scrapping of Plan B measures in England.

From 19 January, working from home guidance was removed and from yesterday (20 January) face masks were no longer mandatory in secondary schools.

On January 27, people will also not legally have to wear a face masks in any setting, and Covid passes will be scrapped for large events and nightlife venues.

Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad StreetNightlife in Birmingham around Broad Street
Nightlife in Birmingham around Broad Street

But what are the rules around Covid passes if I go out to socialise in bars, restaurants and clubs this weekend?

Plan B restrictions will still be in place at hospitality venues this weekend, meaning Covid passes will still be required if you’re heading out to a nightclub in Birmingham.

Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people will also require customers to have a Covid pass this weekend.

You won’t need a pass if you can show you have received a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test taken within the last 48 hours, or if you have proof of a medical exemption.

The Prime Minister has said that venues could continue to ask customers for a Covid pass even after 27 January.

Will I need to wear a mask if I’m out in bars, restaurants or nightclubs?

England’s measures currently require people to wear face coverings in most public indoor venues and on public transport, including shops and hairdressers, but masks are not a requirement in pubs, cafes and restaurants at the moment, so you won’t need one at those venues or if you’re planning on going to a nightclub.

Manahatta BirminghamManahatta Birmingham
Manahatta Birmingham

How will the end of Plan B measures affect Birmingham’s hospitality sector?

The emergence of the Omicron variant late last year caused concern among many and resulted in another blow for the hospitality industry in Birmingham, but Mike Olley, the general manager of Westside Bid, the busiest entertainment sector in the West Midlands, said he expects a ‘rupture of people’ to come out once the Plan B rules come to an end.

Speaking to BirminghamWorld, he said: “We are expecting there to be rupture of people coming out.

“Every time we’ve had a Covid episode people have stayed in doors but as the tension starts to ease they start coming out en masse, so we are expecting an explosion.

“The nature of the British is we do like to go out and have a good time.”

Mike said he will be glad to see the back of Covid passes.

“Covid passports are a real pain,” he said.

“You will always get somebody trying to work their way around using one, and the problem is just one person will try to argue their way in and it causes so many problems for our door staff.

“So losing Covid passports in that respect is great, because they’ve been a real pain.”

Mike did say that the industry has lost a lot of staff due to the uncertainty in hospitality, and although he is glad to see the back of Covid passes, with the majority of restrictions going, there will still be “concern about our staff and customers”, due to the virus.

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