UK Covid: Plans to close pubs and restaurants for Christmas and New Year. (PA)
Government officials have reportedly drawn up plans to restrict numbers in pubs and restaurants or even close them completely in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
As MPs vote on Plan B restrictions in Commons amid a concerning rise in Omicron cases in the UK, infection rates are expected to peak in January with New Year parties in doubt.
A Whitehall source told The Sun: “You will be able to see your family at Christmas, but at this rate, you might not be able to do it in a pub.
“As for New Year’s Eve, that is a different story.”
Dominic Raab refuses to rule out further Covid restrictions
Dominic Raab has said the Government’s Plan B will be enough to get the country through Christmas but did not rule out future restrictions to tackle Omicron.
Dominic Raab said the current set of measures, which include working from home and increased mask-wearing, will enable people to have the ability to spend the festive season “with loved ones” across England.
Discussing the accelerated booster rollout, he told Times Radio: “It’s a demanding target but … the facts are that we will go into this Christmas with the ability to spend it with loved ones in a way that was impossible last year.”
He did not rule out further measures being considered for Christmas or new year, saying: “These issues are always discussed but we have got Plan B, that’s what we think is required over the Christmas period.”
Pressed if Christmas will be safe, Mr Raab replied: “Yes, I think it is. I want to give that reassurance. I think people can look forward to spending Christmas with loved ones in a way that we couldn’t last year.”
Later, speaking to Sky News, the Cabinet member did not rule out new restrictions being brought in after Christmas but said: “We’ve got none planned.”
The booster programme alongside Plan B is “where all our focus is”, he added.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) believes the Omicron variant is causing around 200,000 new infections per day.
There is exponential growth, with cases doubling at least every two to three days.