England relaxed coronavirus restrictions intended to combat the Omicron form on Thursday, removing the need for masks in enclosed spaces and putting vaccination passports on hold.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases has dropped dramatically in the last two weeks and has plateaued in recent days, despite staying high. After Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of an impending “tidal wave” of Omicron, the UK government imposed the so-called “Plan B” limitations on December 8.
Face masks were required in all enclosed spaces and, controversially, vaccine documentation also was to enter places such as nightclubs, football grounds, and large-scale events. On the streets of London around St Paul’s Cathedral, there was general support for the lifting of restrictions, which comes after more than 37 million people had booster jabs. “I think it’s a really good thing,” said Elizabeth Hynes, 71, who is originally from Ireland but has lived in England for 47 years.
“I was coming up the lifts here at St Paul’s and I was looking at all the shows” being advertised, she said of the posters inside the underground station. “And I thought ‘how wonderful, it’s like old times.”
Hynes said that she had stage 4 melanoma skin cancer but had “been lucky” so far in avoiding Covid.