Monday, 1 June 2020

Amended "lockdown" Regulations ~ in force 1 June 2020


'Lockdown' - Bournemouth 31 May
On 12 June 2020 a further amendment was issued to the Regulations. This post is retained for historical purposes.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Regulations) 2020 - (the "lockdown" Regulations) - have been amended for the third time. The latest amendment is in force from 1 June 2020. The government again used the regulation-making power in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (as amended).

The amended Regulations reflect the government's view that it is safe to ease the restrictions further. This view is not universally held - for example, see BBC News 30 May and Financial Times 30 May 2020. Concern also exists because of the numbers of people who went to beaches and beauty spots - (see picture of Bournemouth beach).

The lockdown Regulations are different across the four nations of the UK. Links to the legislation are set out at the end of this post.

Under the amended English Regulations, the "emergency period" is still in force. There is an entirely  new Regulation 6 (Restrictions on Movement) and Regulation 7 (Restrictions on Gatherings). Schedule 2 (Businesses subject to Restrictions or Closure) is amended.

Throughout the pandemic the government has issued guidance on COVID-19. The guidance is updated as the government considers necessary and it is advisable to check for the updates.

NHS Information and advice about coronavirus is available at NHS.UK/Coronavirus


Overview - The amended English Regulations:

At the start of the Regulations it is stated that - "These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in England.

The Secretary of State considers that the restrictions and requirements imposed by these Regulations are proportionate to what they seek to achieve, which is a public health response to that threat.

In accordance with section 45R of that Act the Secretary of State is of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary to make this instrument without a draft having been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament."

In the case of this 3rd amendment it is debatable whether there was any urgent need to make the Regulations before placing a draft before Parliament. The 3rd amendment makes changes adjusting the regulations to the view of the government that it is now safe to make some changes to the lockdown. It stretches matters too far to say that these changes have to be introduced as a matter of urgency.

Regulation 1 - amended and now includes definition of the term "elite athlete"

Regulation 3 - amended to require the Secretary of State to review the Regulations every 28 days instead of the previous 21 days. (There are no stipulations as to the form these reviews must take. The reviews held so far appear to have been done entirely behind closed doors. Parliamentary approval of the Regulations has taken place but has been up to several weeks after the making of the Regulations).

Regulation 4 amended to permit certain businesses to open for the training of "elite athletes."

Regulation 5 amended to clarify that places of worship and community centres may be used to provide early years childcare.   

Regulation 6 (Restrictions on Movement) is replaced by a prohibition on staying overnight in a place other than where a person lives, without reasonable excuse.

Regulation 7 (Restrictions on Gatherings) is replaced by more detailed provision on prohibited gatherings..   

Consequential amendments are made to regulation 8.

Regulation 9 defines offences under the Regulations

Schedule 2 (Businesses subject to restrictions or closures) - Parts 2 and 3 are amended.

The new Regulation 6 (Restrictions on Movement):

The amended Regulations place a restriction on overnight stays at places otherwise than where the individual is living. There is a non-exhaustive list of "reasonable excuses".  (This replaces the previous restriction on leaving or being outside of the place where the individual is living).

6.—(1) No person may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), the circumstances in which a person (“P”) has a reasonable excuse include cases where - 

(a) P needs to stay elsewhere to attend a funeral, as -(i) a member of the deceased person’s household,  (ii) a close family member of the deceased person, or  (iii) if no-one within paragraph (i) or (ii) is attending, a friend of the deceased person; 

(b) P is an elite athlete, a coach of an elite athlete, or (in the case of an elite athlete who is under the age of 18), a parent of the elite athlete, and needs to stay elsewhere for the purposes of training or competition;

(c) P needs to stay elsewhere while moving house; 

(d) it is reasonably necessary for P to stay elsewhere—  (i) for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services;  (ii) to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;  (iii) to provide emergency assistance;  (iv) to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm;  (v) to obtain medical assistance;
  
(e) P needs to stay elsewhere to fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings; 

(f) P is a child that does not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, and the overnight stay is necessary to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children; 

(g) P is unable to return to the place where P lives, because - (i) it is not safe for P to live there,  (ii) P may not lawfully travel there, or is required by law to stay in another place, or  (iii) the place where P is living is not available to P for any other reason. 

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

(4) 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.”

The new Regulation 7 (Restrictions on Gatherings):

7.—(1) During the emergency period, unless paragraph (2) applies, no person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place - (a) outdoors, and consists of more than six persons, or (b) indoors, and consists of two or more persons. 

(2) This paragraph applies where - 

(a) all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household; 

(b) the person is attending a funeral, as - (i) a member of the deceased person’s household,  (ii) a close family member of the deceased person, or  (iii) if no-one within paragraph (i) or (ii) is attending, a friend of the deceased person; 

(c) the person concerned is an elite athlete, the coach of an elite athlete, or (in the case of an elite athlete under the age of 18), the parent of an elite athlete, and the gathering is necessary for training or competition; 

(d) the gathering is reasonably necessary—  (i) for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services;  (ii) to facilitate a house move;  (iii) to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;  (iv) to provide emergency assistance;  (v) for the purposes of early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006;  (vi) to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;  (vii) to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents; 

(e) the person concerned is fulfilling a legal obligation or participating in legal proceedings;

(f) the gathering takes place at an educational facility and is reasonably necessary for the purposes of education.

(3) For the purposes of this regulation - (a) there is a gathering when two or more people are present together in the same place in  order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other; (b) a place indoors if it would be considered to be enclosed or substantially enclosed for the purposes of section 2 of the Health Act 2006 under the Smoke Free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006.

A striking thing about the new Regulation 7 is that it makes extensive inroads into what is permissible in one's home. For example, a "gathering" of two (A and B) at A's home has become unlawful (but see Regulation 9 where offences under the Regulations are defined).

Regulation 8:

Regulation 8 deals with enforcement and empowers a "relevant person" to "take such action as is necessary to enforce any requirement imposed by regulation 4, 5 or 7."  This is amplified in paragraphs 8(2) to 8(13).

Regulation 9:

Regulation 9 sets out the offences -

9. - (1) A person who—

(a) without reasonable excuse contravenes a requirement in regulation 4, 5, 7 or 8, or

(b) contravenes a requirement in regulation 6,

commits an offence.

(2) A person who obstructs, without reasonable excuse, any person carrying out a function under these Regulations commits an offence.

(3) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes a direction given under regulation 8, or fails to comply with a reasonable instruction or a prohibition notice given by a relevant person under regulation 8, commits an offence.

(4) An offence under this regulation is punishable on summary conviction by a fine.

The amended SCHEDULE 2 - Businesses subject to restrictions or closure

The amended Schedule may be seen at the amended version of the legislation and is also set out below.  The Schedule contains 3 parts. Part 1 requires closure of premises where food and drink is sold and also prevents such sales.  Part 2 are businesses which have to cease trading during the emergency period - e.g. cinemas, theatres etc. Part 3 are businesses that may continue to operate - e.g. food retailers.

PART 1 - (Note - See Regulation 4)

1.  Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs.

2.—(1) Cafes, including workplace canteens (subject to sub-paragraph (2)), but not including—

(a) cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;

(b) canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence;

(c) services providing food or drink to the homeless.

(2) Workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food.

3.  Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs.

4.  Public houses.

PART 2 - (Note - See Regulation 4)

5.  Cinemas.

6.  Theatres.

7.  Nightclubs.

8.  Bingo halls.

9.  Concert halls.

10.  Museums and galleries.

11.  Casinos.

12.  Betting shops.

13.  Spas.

14.  Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers.

15.  Massage parlours.

16.  Tattoo and piercing parlours.

17.  Skating rinks.

18.  Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools, bowling alleys, amusement arcades or soft play areas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues.

19.  Funfairs (whether outdoors or indoors) and adventure parks and activities.

20.  Playgrounds, indoor sports courts and outdoor gyms and outdoor swimming pools.

21.  Outdoor markets (except for livestock markets and stalls selling food).

22.  Car showrooms. (Paras 21 and 22 omitted from 1 June 2020).

23.  Auction Houses (except for livestock auctions).

23A.  Social clubs.

23B.  Model villages.

23C.  Aquariums and zoos, including safari parks.

23D.  Visitor attractions at farms.

23E.—(1) Indoor attractions at visitor attractions such as—

(a) botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses;

(b) heritage sites or film studios;

(c) landmarks, including observation wheels or viewing platforms

(2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), an “indoor attraction” means those parts of a venue, including shops and visitor centres but not including toilets for visitors, which - (a)would be considered to be enclosed or substantially enclosed for the purposes of section 2 of the Health Act 2006 under the Smoke Free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006; and (b)are, in normal times, open for members of the public to visit for the purposes of recreation, whether or not for payment.

PART 3 - (Note - See Regulation 5)

24.  Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops.

25.  Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries).

26.  Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists.

27.  Newsagents.

28.  Homeware, building supplies and hardware stores.

29.  Petrol stations.

30.  Car repair and MOT services.

31.  Bicycle shops.

32.  Taxi or vehicle hire businesses.

33.  The following businesses—

(a) banks,

(b) building societies,

(c) credit unions,

(d) short term loan providers,

(e) savings clubs,

(f) cash points, and

(g) undertakings which by way of business operate currency exchange offices, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers.
.

34.  Post offices.

35.  Funeral directors.

36.  Laundrettes and dry cleaners.

37.  Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.

38.  Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.

39.  Agricultural supplies shop.

40.  Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this Part.

41.  Car parks.

42.  Public toilets.

43. Garden centres.

44. Outdoor sports courts
or amenities, including water sports, stables, shooting and archery venues, golf courses and driving ranges.

45.  Outdoor markets.

46.  Showrooms and other premises, including outdoor areas, used for the sale or hire of caravans, boats, or any vehicle which can be propelled by mechanical means

The legislation:

: Regulations around the UK :


Wales
https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-northern-ireland-regulations-2020

The Northern Ireland Regulations are made under powers inserted into the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967. See also Coronavirus Act 2020 s.48 and Schedule 18


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