Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Very important - Coronavirus "Lockdown" regulations amended from 11 am

UPDATE 13 May - additional Regulations came into force on 13 May. This post is retained on the blog as part of the history.

Amendment to Regulations:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 - (discussed in this previous post) - have been amended by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The amendments apply from 1100 hrs on 22 April and apply to England. The following is from the Explanatory Memorandum:

The instrument makes a number of changes to the Restrictions Regulations to clarify and better enable the public health measures in those Regulations to
achieve the intended purpose of reducing public health risks posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). 

In particular:

• Regulation 3(4) of the Restrictions Regulations is amended to ensure that prosecutions can be brought (or continued) in respect of breaches of measures in those Regulations, where those measures have subsequently been lifted by a direction. 

• Regulation 5(8) of the Restrictions Regulations is amended to clarify burial grounds, including those surrounding crematoriums, can remain open. 

• Regulation 6(1) is amended to put beyond doubt that a person commits an offence if they remain outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse, having left it for a permitted reason.

(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. [My note - This amendment is of huge significance]

• Regulation 6(2) is amended to clarify that it is a reasonable excuse to leave, or be outside of, the house to 
a. access all types of money service businesses including savings clubs and international money transfer businesses

b. visit a burial ground, garden of remembrance or grounds surrounding a crematorium to pay respects to a family member or friend  

• Regulation 8(5)(a) is a clarificatory amendment to provide that where a child is contravening regulation 6(1), enforcement officials (police officers) should instruct the responsible adult of the child to escort the child to the place where the child is living. 

• Regulation 8(10) is also a clarificatory amendment. In particular new paragraphs (10A) and (10B) clarify the enforcement action which may be taken against persons accompanying a child who is gathering in contravention of regulation 7 (as it may for a person accompanying a child who is outside of the place they live in contravention of regulation 6).  

• Regulation 10 is amended to clarify that a fixed penalty notice can be issued to a person aged 18 and over, rather than over 18. It is also amended to allow a designated officer (not just a local authority) to be specified as the person to whom a fixed penalty is to be paid. It is intended that the Chief Executive Officer of ACRO Criminal Records Office will be designated, to facilitate effective administration of FPNs.   

• Regulation 10 is also amended to provide that fixed penalty notices can also be issued and collected by county councils. 

• Schedule 2 is amended:

a. to ensure outdoor swimming pools are closed (in addition to indoor pools) 

b. to ensure livestock markets and auctions are exempt from closure,

c. to clarify types of money service businesses which can remain open includes savings clubs and international money transfer businesses.

The police and local authorities will continue to monitor compliance with the regulations, including the amendments set out in this S.I.

*** The amended Regulation 6 ***

Restrictions on movement

6.—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

(a)    to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, ..... including from any business listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2;

(aa) to obtain money from or deposit money with any business listed in paragraphs 33 or 34 of Schedule 2;

(b) to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;

(c) to seek medical assistance, including to access any of the services referred to in paragraph 37 or 38 of Schedule 2;

(d) to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(1), to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;

(e) to donate blood;

(f) to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living;

(g) to attend a funeral of—

(i) a member of the person’s household,

(ii) a close family member, or

(iii) if no-one within sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) are attending, a friend
(ga) to visit a burial ground or garden of remembrance, to pay respects to a member of the person’s household, a family member or friend;

(h) to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

(i) to access critical public services, including—

(i) childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the child);

(ii) social services;

(iii) services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions;

(iv) services provided to victims (such as victims of crime);

(j) in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, “parent” includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the child;

(k) in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship;

(l) to move house where reasonably necessary;

(m) to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1), the place where a person is living includes the premises where they live together with any garden, yard, passage, stair, garage, outhouse or other appurtenance of such premises.

(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person who is homeless.

*** Comment ***

The amendment to Regulation 6(1) is particularly significant. Previously the Regulation applied to leaving the place where an individual lived. The offence was therefore committed at the time of leaving. The amendment has altered this so that there could be an offence both at the time of leaving or subsequently.

No warning was issued that changes were to be made.

The Explanatory memorandum states that there are no plans to consolidate the Regulations.  The cut and paste technique of amending legislation leads to difficulties at the best of times. There has already been considerable confusion over the Regulations and the government's guidance.  In my view, a revised (consolidated) Regulation ought to be issued.

*** Other parts of the UK ***

The Regulations are not the same throughout the UK -


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