Omicron measures to be lifted across the UK

The majority of Omicron-related restrictions will be lifted across the UK over the next two weeks.

The majority of Omicron-related restrictions will be lifted across England, Scotland and Wales over the next two weeks, according to recent government announcements. Here's how pubs and bars in each country are affected.


Prime minister Boris Johnson announced in parliament on 19 January that restrictions across England will be removed from 24 January. This means guidance instructing people to work from home where possible will come to an end, providing a much-needed boost for pubs, restaurants, cafés and other hospitality venues which took a financial hit due to the lack of consumer footfall and lunchtime trade. 

"The cabinet concluded that, thanks to the booster campaign together with how the public have responded, we can allow Plan B regulations to expire," Johnson told ministers.

"From now on, the government is no longer asking people to work from home and people should speak to their employers about returning to the office."

The government will also remove the legal requirement for people to wear masks in public spaces, also eliminating 'Covid-passport' regulations from 27 January. 

On the announcement, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls says: “This is fantastic news for the hospitality sector, after the critical Christmas trade was laid to waste for the second year running. Lifting the working from home recommendation is a particularly important move as it enables town and city centres, and the businesses that are their lifeblood, to begin their revival and recovery. 

“The end of mandatory certification is also a hugely welcome step, particularly for English nightclubs and those businesses whose trade has been drastically restricted by the measures. Certification had deterred customers from spontaneous visits and severely limited trade. We would now urge the devolved administrations to begin removing these and other conditions at the earliest opportunity.

“This signals a move to a more balanced reaction to dealing with the virus. It’s critical that the health infrastructure remains in place, such as testing capabilities. Some hospitality businesses may retain safety measures in order to keep their staff and customers safe, but the nation must avoid further restrictions in future as the virus becomes endemic."


Measures implemented by the Scottish government to slow the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant will also be lifted from 5am on Monday 24 January. 

Pub and bar operators across the country will no longer have to enforce one metre physical distancing rules in their venues, while table service in such settings will no longer be required. 

Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and, while the Covid certification scheme will not be extended at this stage, the Scottish government has said that regulations will be updated to ensure venues cannot avoid the scheme by putting tables on dancefloors while still allowing dancing. 

The guidance to keep social interaction at home and in indoor public spaces to a maximum of three households will also be removed, but the public are being asked to be cautious and limit contact where possible, in addition to taking lateral flow tests prior to meeting people from other households. 

The requirement to collect customer details in hospitality settings and use face coverings in public spaces will remain in place.


Following the announcement of Wales moving to alert level 0 – meaning transmission rates are low enough to abolish the majority of restrictions – from Friday (21 January), Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that most of the regulations implemented in response to Omicron will be phased out over the next two weeks.

Drakeford said that since Omicron cases have fallen so "rapidly", rules can now "gradually" be relaxed.

The removal of restrictions will take place in four phases, the first of which took effect on Saturday 15 January, seeing attendance levels for outdoor events rise from 50 to 500. 

Phase two begins  on 21 Janaury, allowing crowds to return to sporting events and removing limits on attendance for outdoor events.

Phase three launches on 28 January, when nightclubs will be able to reopen and hospitality venues will be permitted to operate as normal, though Covid passes will still be required for large events, as well as for cinemas, nightclubs and theatres. This phase will also see the removal of rules requiring people to work from home. 

The final phase comes on Thursday 10 February, where Wales will return to a three-week review process of current measures. 

"The actions we have take together have helped us to weather the Omicron storm. The latest data suggests some positive signs that the peak may have passed," Drakeford said in a press conference last week.

"We can now look more confidently to the future and plan to start gradually removing the alert level two restrictions, starting with the outdoor measures.

"But the pandemic is not over," warned the first minister. "We will closely monitor the public health situation – this is a fast-moving and volatile variant, which could change suddenly. I urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and have your vaccines to keep Wales safe."

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