Rules on face coverings will be extended to ‘most indoor settings’ within days (Picture: Getty)
Face masks are to be made mandatory in ‘most indoor settings’ including theatres and cinemas from Friday.
The stricter rules on face coverings are part of Boris Johnson’s move to ‘Plan B’ restrictions before Christmas in a bid to stop the spread of Omicron.
Speaking as the fallout from the Downing Street Christmas party deepens, the Prime Minister confirmed the return of working from home ‘if you can’ from Monday.
He also said vaccine passports are being introduced in ‘certain settings’, meaning the NHS Covid pass will be mandatory in England where large crowds gather – including sporting events and nightclubs.
However, Mr Johnson has again ruled out mandatory vaccines.
Observers suggested the move to Plan B was conveniently timed as the PM faces widespread criticism to allegations Number 10 hosted lockdown parties last year.
The PM faced difficult questions over how the public can accept his new rules amid the fallout from the scandal – which has seen his adviser and former spokesperson Allegra Stratton resign.
Simultaneously in the Commons, Sajid Javid warned there are 568 cases of Omicron confirmed but the true figure is estimated to be ‘probably closer to 10,000’.
The Health Secretary was heckled by MPs and told to ‘resign’ as he updated them on the new restrictions, which he said would be reviewed on January 5.
Mr Johnson said the mask guidance would include exemptions for eating, drinking, exercising or singing.
The Covid health certificate will apply to unseated indoor venues with more than 500 attendees, and outside where there are more than 4,000 people.
The PM added the pass can be obtained with a negative lateral flow test or by having had two doses of a vaccine.
But he hinted this could change, saying ‘we will keep this under review as the boosters roll out’.
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