This comes as a small number of more widespread cases of the new COVID variant, Omicron, are now being confirmed across parts of Hampshire.
Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council and Chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board, said: “In light of the speed at which the Omicron variant appears to be spreading, and in order to help keep our festive plans on track, it is really important that we do all we can to protect ourselves and others in the run up to Christmas, by abiding by the new rules, and continuing to take other safety precautions, such as getting the booster as soon as it’s offered.”
“Complying with these additional measures, and the extra and significant advantage of effective vaccines, mean that we stand the very best chance of reducing the spread and keeping each other safe over the busy festive period.”
The new rules include:
- From 10 December: face coverings become compulsory in a wider range of indoor settings, including in cinemas and theatres
- From 13 December: the public are asked to work from home where possible
- From 15 December (subject to parliamentary approval): an NHS COVID Pass on the NHS App will be required for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather. People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app or proof of a negative lateral flow test.
In addition to the new COVID safety measures announced, there will be further changes to the self-isolation rules for those identified as close contacts of suspected or confirmed Omicron cases.
Government will be providing further guidance on the changes on its gov.uk webpages in the coming days.
Councillor Mans said: “I would like to thank Hampshire residents for everything they have done over the past year. Unfortunately, this is a stark reminder that the pandemic is far from over, but following the Hands, face, space - test, ventilate and vaccinate mantra will help us keep ourselves, our loved ones and the many thousands of vulnerable residents within our local communities, as safe as we possibly can.”