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From 4am tomorrow, a new set of coronavirus rules will be in place in England. Face masks and other face coverings will be compulsory on public transport and in shops, and the Government are also asking them to be work in hairdressers banks and post offices. Pubs and restaurants are exempt, however.
Downing Street held a press conference over the weekend to discuss the Omicron Covid variant.
Currently, there are a small number of people who have tested positive for the new variant.
Nevertheless, new restrictions have been announced to slow its spread.
These include face masks and face coverings to be worn in several public places in England.
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Devolved nations have different rules and restrictions according to their minister.
Hairdressers, banks, post offices, supermarkets and other shops, and public transport, all now require a face mask to be worn.
However, pubs and restaurants – even busy or crowded ones – are said to be exempt from the new rule.
The confirmed list of venues that will require a face mask is going to be published later to
There are some exemptions to wearing face masks, which include medical reasons or if you are a child under the age of 12.
It comes as Health Minister Edward Argar explained why wearing a mask in a pub or restaurant is difficult.
He said people standing at the bar are often there for a short time and will “sip a drink on their way back to a table, where they’ll be seated”.
Mr Argar insisted: “It’s about striking a proportionate balance.
“It’s in the nature of the venue. In a pub you’re drinking. You can’t do that if you’re wearing a mask.”
Government guidance, does however, advise people to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces, and to take a lateral flow test before socialising with other people.
Mr Argar said: “We’re not making it a legal requirement but people will make their own judgements.”
So far, three cases of the Omicron variant have been found in England and six in Scotland.
Mr Argar told Sky News: “I’ll be honest with you and your viewers, I would expect that to rise.
“We don’t know by what speed or what numbers so therefore what we’re doing is trying to slow it down, but we’re clear we can’t stop it.”
It is not known whether any travel restrictions will be put in place for around Christmas.
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