Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced an end to all the COVID-19 measures he introduced to combat the Omicron variant next week.

From 26 January, compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, work from home orders and ‘vaccine passports' will cease.

The Prime Minister also told the House of Commons people with COVID-19 would not have to self-isolate when the regulations requiring them to end on 24 March.

The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the announcement, with national chairman Mike Cherry commenting:

"After two years of chopping and changing, small businesses right across England will be hoping that this marks the beginning of a final winding down of trading restrictions.

"We would now urge everyone to get behind small firms - be that on a commute, whilst working from home, online, or in-person - as they work night and day to recover from another incredibly stressful festive season."

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive officer of the British Independent Retailers Association disagreed, questioning whether the easing of rules were "based on science":

"Retail businesses need certainty and we want to be sure that retailers do not need to re-introduce these measures in the near future because the Government has acted in haste. We now hope that the Government can focus on business support as we look to recover."

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