Face masks compulsory in English shops as Omicron variant reaches UK

Face masks compulsory in English shops as Omicron variant reaches UK

Face masks will become compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from Tuesday (30th November) in response to the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the change on 27th November in an effort to try and curb the new strain. So far three cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in England. The variant was first identifed in South Africa last week and early evidence suggests Omicron has a higher re-infection risk.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, face coverings are already mandatory on public transport and in many indoor areas. The new rules in England do not apply to pubs and restaurants.

Under the rules coming in on Tuesday everyone entering the UK will also have to take a PCR test by the end of the second full day after their arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of whether or not they are fully vaccinated.

Johnson said the new measures are "temporary and precautionary" and would be reviewed in three weeks.