Covid: Rules updated to tackle Omicron as businesses fear effectson November 30, 2021 at 7:13 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Tuesday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

Face coverings are once again mandatory on public transport and in shops in England, as ministers try to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. With 11 cases detected across the UK and that number expected to rise, the face mask ruling brings England in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. People arriving in the UK from abroad will now also have to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Archive image of a woman removing a blue tartan face mask as they leave a Glasgow shoe shop

Image source, PA Media

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Updated guidance is urging secondary school pupils in Wales to wear face masks in classrooms, with the Welsh government saying changes “should come into effect in all settings as soon as possible”. The move goes further than advice given in England to wear face masks in communal areas. Secondary pupils are already advised to wear masks indoors in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A girl wearing a face mask uses a school hand sanitiser unit

Image source, Getty Images

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With restaurants and bars preparing for their main money-making period of the year, the hospitality trade is concerned fears over the spread of the Omicron variant will hit business. As we discover, some businesses are already reporting cancellations.

Damian Wawrzynia

Image source, Damian Wawrzynia

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Shopkeepers in England worry the new mask rules could have a serious impact on business, at a time when violence and verbal abuse against staff is at an all-time high. “People are a bit frustrated,” says Katie Pitts, co-owner of Leeds-based fashion boutique The Dressing Room. “We’re a non-essential retailer, so if they don’t feel like wearing a mask, they might not come in.”

The Dressing Room co-owners Katie Pitts & Karen Caton

Image source, The Dressing Room

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People in Northern Ireland have spent more than £100m using the High Street Spend Local cards, according to Department for the Economy figures. The deadline for using them was pushed back to 14 December, with organisers saying the scheme had given much-needed stimulus to the retail and hospitality sectors. Meanwhile, Health Minister Robin Swann says a series of vaccination hubs will open this week to help meet demand for booster jabs.

A giant version of the Spend Local card

Image source, DfE

Here’s how you can stop your glasses steaming up when you’re wearing a mask.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Graphic showing UK Covid statistics on 29 November 2021
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Image source, BBC

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