England announces mandatory use of masks and covid passport in public places

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Boris Johnson has announced that masks and COVID passports will be mandatory in gigs, nightclubs, theatres and cinemas in England.

From Friday (December 10), face masks will be required in cinemas and theatres, while COVID passes will be enforced for concerts and nightclubs from next Wednesday (December 15), with a negative lateral flow test also being sufficient.

It comes in the wake of the increasing spread of the Omicron variant.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference this evening (December 8) the prime minister announced the measures in the government’s Plan B for dealing with coronavirus this winter.

“It’s now the proportionate and responsible thing to move to Plan B in England, while continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the devolved administrations so we can slow the spread of the virus,” Johnson said.

“From this Friday we will extend the legal requirement to wear face masks in most indoor public venues including theatres and cinemas. We’ll also make the NHS COVID pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.”

These new measures have been heavily criticised by bodies across the live music industry.

“The introduction of Plan B results in an unfair double standard that allows people to go on all-day pub crawls in crowded bars without having to prove their COVID-19 status, whilst live music venues get hit with certification,” said Greg Parmley, CEO of Live music organisation LIVE.