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What you can do

In England temporary measures have been put in place to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19

You must now wear face coverings in most indoor public places, but excluding hospitality settings.

Socialise safely

As there’s still a risk you could catch or pass on the virus (even if you’re fully vaccinated), you should be cautions and consider the risks when socialising. While no situation is risk-free, your actions can help protect you and others.

You are expected to:

  • wear face coverings in crowed and enclosed places to help reduce the spread of coronavirus
  • sanitise your hands often
  • take a rapid lateral flow test before you socialise.

Hospitality and entertainment

  • All businesses and venues such as nightclubs can remain open
  • No capacity limits apply at sporting, entertainment, or business events
  • From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.
  • Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are not required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules

Life events

There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.

Travelling (within the UK or abroad)

Domestic travel:

  • Face coverings are, unless exempt, a legal requirement in most indoor public spaces such as on public transport. This includes trains, buses, coaches, ferries, hovercraft and, taxis and private hire vehicles. Face coverings must also be worn in transport hubs railway stations, ports and bus and coach stations. For further information on where it is law to wear a face covering visit Face coverings when to wear one and how to make your own
  • Travel safely and plan your journeys – sanitise hands, wear a face covering where required, and keep your distance where possible.
  • If travelling to countries within the UK, check the Covid-19 rules of the country you are visiting.

International travel:

  • If you live in England, you should not travel to countries or territories on the red list. If you are due to travel to England from a country or territory on the red list please read the current requirements (Red list of countries and territories – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
  • Check the Covid-19 rules for the country you are travelling to before you go. (Travel abroad from England during coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Read the Government’s guidance online.

Clinically extremely vulnerable

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, because clinically extremely vulnerable people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, you may wish to think particularly carefully about taking precautions when meeting others you do not usually meet with in order to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. For example, you could:

  • meet outside if possible – the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are quickly blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person
  • make sure the space is well ventilated if you meet inside; open windows and doors or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. For more information, read the national guidance about COVID-19 ventilation of indoor spaces
  • consider whether you and those you are meeting have been vaccinated – you might want to wait until 14 days after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being in close contact with others
  • wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • consider continuing to practice social distancing if that feels right for you and your friends
  • asking friends and family to take a lateral flow test before visiting you

You are encouraged to go outside for exercise and can do so freely now.

These precautions are included in the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Symptoms

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you or someone you live with has any of these symptoms, no matter how mild, it’s important to visit the NHS website to find out what you need to do, including getting tested. You can book a test online at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Find out more information about how to self-isolate, what you can and can’t do and what local support is available in our protect Portsmouth self-isolation guide.

NHS 111 Mental Health Triage Service

Are you, or someone you know, experiencing a crisis and need urgent mental health support? Call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website and speak to the NHS Mental Health Triage Service. If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, please call 999.

Wellbeing advice 

We know that many factors can influence our physical and psychological wellbeing. There are many options available to help you keep healthy and happy:

Coronavirus crisis card

This guide lists services and support that is available right now to help, listen and support you during the ongoing pandemic. Take a look at the crisis card.

NHS Covid-19 app

Using the NHS COVID-19 app helps stop the spread of the virus. It tells you if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus later (even if you don’t know each other). The app is free and easy to use, and can help you protect your loved ones and others.

The app also allows people to report symptoms, order a coronavirus test and check in to venues using a QR code. To help protect yourself and others, download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app.

The app tracks coronavirus, not you. It doesn’t store any personal information about you or track your location. It can’t access your phone contacts. It keeps your privacy and identity secure.

The app is available in different languages and is easy to download for free. Search ‘NHS Covid19’ where you usually get your apps from on your smartphone

For more information including a video explaining the app, visit covid19.nhs.uk

NHS Covid-19 test and trace app Pause function

If you’ve downloaded the Covid-19 NHS test and trace app, it should be left on as much as possible, but you’ll need to make sure you know how and when to PAUSE the app to prevent you inadvertently becoming a ‘close contact’ of someone you’ve not been close to, or when you’ve actually been protected. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing.

Bereavement support

Losing a loved one is very difficult. It can feel even harder during the pandemic. HIVE Portsmouth have added a bereavement directory on their website . The directory provides details of organisations who can assist with advice, information and support to help you deal with both the practical side of losing someone and cope with your feelings of grief.

Visit HIVE Portsmouth for more information.

Misinformation and disinformation

We are all curious to understand our world and stay up to date with the latest news. We do this is by finding out and sharing information. This may be anything from official communications from government and local councils. It may be news articles and messages from vloggers, podcasters and social media influencers. Friends and family also share information with us on social media or messaging apps. But some is fact and some is not.

Disinformation can be dangerous

All news spreads fast like a virus, especially if it’s exciting. The sheer volume of information we see, along with the speed at which it’s shared, is now being called an ‘infodemic’.

But there is a difference between sharing useful information and entertaining stories and sharing misinformation.

Misinformation – even if unintentional – can still be dangerous.

Disinformation is deliberately misleading and serves a specific agenda – one which you may not even agree with.

Help stop the spread

Just as we can protect against COVID-19 with hand washing, physical distancing and wearing face masks, we can slow down the spread of misinformation and disinformation by practising ‘information hygiene’. Before sharing something, ask yourself these simple questions:

  • How does this make me feel?
  • Why am I sharing this?
  • How do I know if it’s true?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it?

And if you know something is false, or if it makes you angry, just ignore it. Don’t be tempted to share to debunk it or make fun of it as this just spreads the misinformation or disinformation further.

‘Play the game’ – learn how to reduce your susceptibility to fake news

A new 5-7 minute game developed by the University of Cambridge, Go Viral!, helps you learn to spot and avoid the basics of online manipulation in the era of coronavirus. It’s a simple guide to common techniques: using emotionally charged language to stoke outrage and fear, deploying fake experts to sow doubt, and mining conspiracies for social media likes.

Where to find reliable information on COVID-19

Remember, though: information will change as we learn more about the virus.

Learn more about how you can report misinformation online.

Council service information

For more information about how coronavirus is affecting council services, visit the coronavirus page.