7 Covid restrictions that could return in January to beat Omicron – everything you need to know

BORIS Johnson made the decision all Brits were waiting for on Monday – when he confirmed that New Year's Eve could go ahead lockdown-free.

But Downing Street has been reticent to rule out a lockdown post-January 1, with seven key rules still on the cards.


These include the return of the dreaded Rule Of Six for indoor mixing, table service at pubs – and a law forcing Brits to work from home if they can.

But speculation comes in the shadow of a string of hugely positive studies which show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

Here, The Sun will break down all seven lockdown rules which could be reinforced in the unlikely event that hospitalisation rates spiral out of control.

Rule of Six

The return of the loathed Rule of Six for indoor gatherings has not been ruled outshould the PM choose to crack down on Omicron in January.

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The detested rule saw family and friends limited to groups of half a dozen when mixing indoors and outdoors.

Pubs and restaurants also felt the strain, with bookings for big groups cancelled throughout one of the busiest times of the year.

Follow our Omicron Covid live blog for all the latest news & stories

Table service and outdoor pints

Pubs and restaurants could once again be closed for indoor service, forcing drinkers to have their pints outside in the January chill.

Landlords will also have to ensure there's table service to stop punters congregating at the bar.

Scores of venues last year erected temporary outdoor seating areas for people to dine al-fresco – with some hardcore customers memorably pictured tucking into a full English in the pouring rain.

But the economic impact of another shotgun lockdown could devastate Britain's already hard-hit hospitality industry.

Desperate publicans have written to the PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging against new lockdown measures.

The pair were warned a return to the Rule of Six, table service only or the closure of indoor hospitality would leave many on the brink of closure.

Nightclubs banned

Both Wales and Northern Ireland have ordered nightclubs to shut ahead of New Year's Eve.

In Wales, the restrictions are a revised version of Wales' alert level two.

Concerns have been raised that England could follow suit in a devastating blow to venues across the country.

Limited number for outdoor sports

In Scotland, only three households can socialise at indoor and outdoor venues – including bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms – with one metre social distancing enforced in Nicola Sturgeon's Boxing Day crackdown.

Crowds will also be limited to 100 people standing indoors, 200 people sitting indoors and 500 people outdoors.

Fears have been raised about Mr Johnson imposing a similar rule for England to stem the Omicron spread, in a move that would devastate live sports fans.

The PM has previously followed the Scottish First Minister in imposing lockdown rules – but whether he will do so again is unclear.

Weddings and funerals

Weddings and funerals could also be slapped with restrictions come January.

Previous rules saw up to 30 people allowed to pay their respects at funerals.

However the maximum for weddings was 15, and it had to be in an open space with social distancing.

New measures affecting special events have been ruled out in recent days.

It is understood there will be no changes to the number of people allowed to attend funerals, in a marked change to the dark days of the full shutdown last year, The Times reports.

In April, the Queen sat alone as she said goodbye to her husband of 73 years, while in 2020, the funeral of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab was held without any of his family present.

Weddings and funerals are already continuing unhindered in Wales and Scotland, where tougher rules came into force on Boxing Day.

Work from home

Earlier this month, Boris Johnson advised all Brits to work from home if they are able to.

But his advice could be come the law under a January crackdown leaving only essential workers – such as NHS staff or shopkeepers – able to go in.

Travel restrictions

Previous restrictions saw countries placed on a red, amber and green travel list depending on the Covid-19 spread on their shores.

The levels saw different lengths of isolation imposed – with the harshest involving mandatory quarantine in a hotel.

Countries often jumped between list levels at the last minute, sparking chaos for travellers stuck abroad.

Currently, fully-jabbed passengers have to take a test two days before travel to England – and another expensive PCR test up to two days after landing. 

Red list hotel quarantine is still enforced.



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