SAJID Javid will tonight dangle the prospect of a return to restrictions unless Brits get their boosters to tackle the Covid surge.
Mandatory masks, working from home and vaccine passports are all weapons in the Government’s arsenal to blunt another spike.
Ministers today “categorically ruled out” another lockdown – but have always suggested they’d take draconian steps if required.
Boris Johnson’s Plan B was announced last month as a back-up in case hospitalisations and deaths spiralled out of control as the country unlocked.
Yesterday Britain recorded 223 deaths – the highest since March – prompting fears of a fresh clampdown.
Last month the Pm said Plan B has “a number of different shots in the locker”.
He said: “You wouldn’t necessarily play them all at once, far from it, you would want to do things in a graduated way.”
Since July masks haven’t been mandatory on public transport or in shops as they once were.
While they are a condition of carriage on buses and trains in London most the rest of the country doesn’t have to use them.
Britain is an outlier among European nations, many of which still require face coverings in crowded spaces.
Government guidance encourages Brits to wear them in enclosed settings – although they have the power to make them a legal requirement once again.
WORKING FROM HOME
As recently as this month at Conservative Party Conference Boris Johnson was banging the drum for workers to go back to the office.
High streets have been decimated by a lack of footfall as people worked remotely during lockdown.
Over the past few months people have slowly been trudging back to their desks as Government guidance changed.
Plan B includes provisions for ministers to once again hunker down at home and do business on Zoom.
It will likely start as guidance rather than a legal requirement, while essential workers will get a bypass.
Contentious vaccine passports have proved a thorny issue during the pandemic but could return under Johnson’s Plan B.
The prospect was all but killed by the PM before it was announced they’d be needed for nightclubs this month.
The u-turn was widely seen as a ploy to encourage more teenagers to get jabbed and was quietly ditched.
Some large venues such as sports stadiums are using Covid certificates as a voluntary measure.
Under Plan B this could be extended to all nightclubs, any indoor venue with more than 500 people, any outdoor settings with more than 1,000 people.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today ruled out a return to a fully-fledged lockdown, making it incredibly unlikely.
Downing St also said they want to move away from using “Government diktats”.
But ministers have said they’d be prepared to take tough action in the event of a vaccine-escaping variant that runs riot.
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