Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board said: “With cases rising everywhere and the emergence of this new variant, it is really important that we all take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and those closest to us during this busy festive period. Face coverings are now a legal requirement in shops and on public transport, including taxis, and I would urge Hampshire residents to comply with this important new obligation and to take other precautions to keep themselves safe and help stop the spread of the virus.
“After the successful nationwide vaccination roll-out, it is critical we don’t lose the progress we have already made in getting life back to normal or jeopardise our much-cherished plans for Christmas.”
The full list of places where face coverings must be worn can be found on the Government website.
Changes to the self-isolation rules are also now in force. Anyone who comes into contact with someone who has a suspected case of the Omicron variant must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. The Test and Trace service will contact anyone who is thought to be affected by the new variant.
Furthermore, travel rules have been tightened, with anyone entering the UK from abroad now required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
Councillor Mans added: “The new measures, in addition to the vaccine, remain our best defence against the virus. I encourage everyone to increase their immunity by getting the booster as soon as they are eligible, and remember, it is not too late to get your first or second dose.”
Members of the public are also strongly encouraged to continue practising safe behaviours - opening a window to let in fresh air when they have visitors indoors, wash hands frequently, take a test before meeting others, using the NHS app to check-in when out and about and choosing to wear face coverings in other busy and enclosed spaces, where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.