UPDATE: The U.K. government has confirmed the arrival of “Plan B” restrictions in England,which include proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test for entry into indoor venues with large crowds.

In a press conference today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that beginning Friday, face masks will be required for public indoor venues, including theaters, and that beginning Monday, people must work from home.

Proof of vaccination or a negative test, which must be shown via the NHS COVID pass, is mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, seated outdoor venues with more than 4k people and any venue with more than 10k people.

The restrictions have been announced due to rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the omicron variant. As of today, the daily number of people who have tested positive in the U.K. is just over 51k, according to government data. Over the last seven days, cases have risen 11.3% to nearly 340k. Hospital admissions are up 0.8% to 5.3k over the last seven days. 81.1% of the population is double vaccinated.

Said Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust, “While this is obviously a blow to the progress in the battle against the virus, we are pleased that the government has listened to the grassroots music-venue sector and adopted a COVID pass policy that recognizes testing. MVT’s #TakeaTest policy has been extremely successful in limiting infection incidents in grassroots music venues, and we welcome the news that this has been recognized in the new policy.”

EARLIER: The U.K. government is reportedly set to sign off on new restrictions that will see it enacting its “Plan B,” which includes requiring vaccination proof for entry into indoor venues with a capacity of 500 or more.

Ministers are expected to introduce the restrictions imminently due to rising COVID-19 cases and the threat of the omicron variant, according to the Guardian.

As reported in September, nightclubs, indoor settings with 500 or more attendees, outdoor settings with 4k or more attendees, such as festivals, and any setting with 10k or more people, such as sports stadiums, would be required to ask for vaccination proof at the door, per the new rules. In addition, working from home will be reimposed.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said vaccine passports will have a “devastating impact on a sector already so bruised by the pandemic.”

“Trade is down 30% in Scotland and 26% in Wales following their implementation, and the pre-Christmas period is absolutely crucial for our sector,” he noted. In addition, Kill said, “The government’s own report on the subject concluded that vaccine passports wouldn’t even have a significant impact on virus transmission.”

There are rumors that any announcement is designed to deflect attention from the publication on ITV News of a leaked video featuring government officials joking about a Christmas party that reportedly took place last year and broke COVID rules.

“You do have to question the timing and rationale for this announcement,” Kill said. “Is this sound evidence-based public policymaking or is this an attempt to move the news agenda on from a damaging story about the Downing St. Christmas party? Nightclubs and bars must not be thrown under the bus for the Prime Minister to save his own skin.”