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​Calls for ‘Plan B’ COVID restrictions in the UK amidst rising cases

The restrictions could make masks mandatory in nightclubs and enforce COVID passports

  • Gemma Ross
  • 21 October 2021
​Calls for ‘Plan B’ COVID restrictions in the UK amidst rising cases

Experts are calling for Boris Johnson’s proposed ‘Plan B’ restrictions to come into force in the coming weeks due to the skyrocketing COVID cases across the country.

For the past week, COVID cases in the UK have risen above 40,000 each day, with yesterday’s number of new infections reaching nearly 50,000.

Doctors of the British Medical Association are now urging the government to implement the September-proposed plans, which would see the mandatory use of masks everywhere - including inside nightclubs and venues.

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Venues with a capacity of 500 or more would be asked to bring in COVID passports or vaccine certificates under the new policy, and working from home could be reintroduced across the UK.

Plan B restrictions were only set to come into place if the NHS became overrun, according to the Prime Minister who first brought the plans to public notice last month. However, Health Minister Edward Argar argues that there is currently not enough "unsustainable pressure" on the NHS to implement Plan B.

On the skyrocketing cases, he said: “We know how those numbers can rise swiftly, which is why we're looking at that day by day, hour by hour. But at the moment we do have the ability to manage.”

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Argar also said that 7,000 hospital beds are currently occupied by COVID patients in the UK, 6,000 remain empty. Downing Street said on Wednesday that there are currently no plans to introduce Plan B.

At the end of September, a long-awaited insurance scheme for the event industry came into place, however, it was only said to cover new COVID restrictions.

The £800 million scheme only covers events and festivals that are cancelled or postponed due to government-sanctioned lockdown measures, and would not apply for staff who contract the virus.

Fears are currently mounting in the UK after many festival and event organisers have said that they are yet to be given a quota for insurance, despite the scheme being announced in August.

“At the moment, you can’t obtain actual quotes, so that’s another issue. Until this is properly in play, we won’t know the full extent of these issues and whether it is a viable scheme or not," said the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF)'s Paul Reed.

If Plan B were to go ahead, it sparks the question of whether nightclubs or events would be allowed to go ahead at all given the proposed work from home measures.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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