Government Update: Autumn and Winter Plan for England 2021

Autumn and Winter Plan for England – In the House of Commons this afternoon (14 September) Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out the Autumn and Winter Plan for England. This was followed by a press briefing by Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the public. The plan sets out a Plan A scenario and outlines a Plan B contingency plan for England that would only be enacted if the data suggests that further actions are necessary to protect the NHS.

The 5 pillars outlined for ‘Plan A’ include:
Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: including maximising vaccine uptake among those who are eligible and not taken up the offer yet, offering booster doses to those who received vaccinations in phase 1 of the vaccine programme, offering a first dose to those aged 12-15. Antivirals and therapeutics are already being used, and teams are researching further drugs that may assist.

Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: PCR testing for symptomatic and contacts of cases will be available free of charge. Regular asymptomatic testing will also continue, focused on those who are not vaccinated or are on front line settings. Contact tracing will continue. Support will remain in place for those forced to self-isolate.

Supporting the NHS and Social Care – managing pressures and recovering services. Linked to the announcement of further funding announced last week to clear the backlog of appointments.

Advising people on how to protect themselves and others – For businesses the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidance on how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. They are encouraging the public to let fresh air in when meeting indoors, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings, getting tested and self isolating, staying home if they feel unwell, washing hands regularly and using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Pursuing an international approach – playing a part in the global effort towards vaccination, and keeping strong defence at the border. The Government will shortly set out a revised framework for international travel, in advance of the next formal checkpoint review, with a deadline of 1 October.

‘Plan B’ – If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government’s Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:
Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously. Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings. Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.

If Plan B is implemented, at that point the NHS COVID Pass will change to display full vaccination only (exemptions will continue to apply). The Government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification would be introduced for visitors to the following venues:
All nightclubs;
Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions;
Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals; and
Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.

There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests and mass participation sporting events.

The Government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.

Natasha's Law

Natasha’s Law comes into effect from October 2021and requires all food businesses to provide full ingredients lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packaged for direct sale on the premises. 

COVID-19 Re-opening after a closure and temporary closure checklists

These CHECKLISTS are provided to help you focus on the main controls to re-open your business. Take a look at the full toolkit here. There are also RISK ASSESSMENT toolkits keeping you, your employees and your customers safe. Take a look at the toolkit here.

The Professional Association of Self-Caterers (PASC)

The Professional Association of Self-Caterers (PASC) publish a weekly newsletter covering the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector. Please see all the latest release: COVID Guidance Newsletter 9th July 2021. Also, please see the newly published update on PASC/ASSC Cancellation Policies.

Take a look at this useful webinar by PASC focusing on cancellation policies. Click here for link to You Tube.

The PASC has collated some questions and answers regarding the Government Roadmap.11

Guidance for Private Hire Vehicles

The Government has published guidance for operators of Private Hire Vehicles and taxis on how to operate in a Covid secure manner. This includes guidance on: 

– Picking up passengers
– Operating safely while people are in the vehicle
– Taking payment at the end of the journey

– Preparing the vehicle for the next passenger

Self-Catering COVID Cleaning Protocols

Guidance has now been released by The Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK ( to help self-catering businesses prepare for reopening. Please see here for more details and the compete cleaning protocols documents. 

The Cleaning and Opening guidelines, (part of the UKH doc that will be released soon) are available at PASCUK Standards. This includes tools such as risk assessment templates. All businesses will need to have completed one in order to sign up to the AA Good to Go, and the AA Covid Ready scheme. The VE scheme will launch when the Guidelines become official, the AA one is live now at  

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Organisations must collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace. Read more here.

QR Codes and Track & Trace:
• Your business must support the Track & Trace system via using the QR code system and supported by a manual record when needed.
• Businesses will be expected to make sure their customers are aware of the rules around QR codes by displaying posters and speaking to customers directly.
• If individual’s check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route. Information should be collected by the venue for those people that have not checked-in using the QR poster.
• Businesses can generate their coronavirus NHS QR code here.

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