Sunday 14 June 2020

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020

The law is stated as at 14 June 2020. Amendment is likely.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Grant Shapps MP) has made The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 - SI 2020/592. An Explanatory Memorandum is available.

The legal basis for the Regulations is the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. The "emergency procedure" in section 45R has been used, yet again, to make these Regulations which were laid before Parliament on Sunday 14 June and come into force on 15 June. The Regulations apply to England.

Regulation 1 (Citation, commencement and application) states
that - "These Regulations apply— (a) in England; (b) in English airspace to a person who is on board an aircraft which took off from, or is to land at, a place in England; (c) in the English territorial sea to a person who is on board a vessel which is not an excluded vessel.  See Regulation 1 for definitions of English airspace, English territorial sea, Excluded vessel.

Regulation 2 (Interpretation) defines "face covering" as "a covering of any type which covers a person’s nose and mouth". Other terms are defined.

Regulation 3 (Requirement to wear a face covering when on public transport)

3.—(1) No person may, without reasonable excuse, use a public transport service without wearing a face covering.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a person is using a public transport service at any time when -

(a) they are boarding any vehicle by means of which a public transport service is provided, or

(b) they are (whether or not for the purposes of travel) on board any vehicle by means of which a public transport service is provided.

(3) But the requirement in paragraph (1) does not apply -

(a) to a child who is under the age of 11;

(b) to an employee of the operator of the relevant public transport service acting in the course of their employment;

(c) to any other person providing services under arrangements made with the operator of the relevant public transport service who is providing those services;

(d) to a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty;

(e) to an emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder;

(f) to a relevant official acting in the course of their employment or their duties;

(g) where a person is allocated a cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, at any time when they are in that accommodation— (i) alone, or (ii) only with members of their own household or a linked household;

(h) where— (i) a person is permitted, or ordinarily required, to board and to remain in a vehicle when using the public transport service, and (ii) the vehicle is not itself used for the provision of a public transport service,  the person remains in that vehicle.

(4) sets out further definitions of words and phrases used in Regulation 3.

Regulation 4 (Reasonable excuse)

4. For the purposes of regulation 3(1), the circumstances in which a person (“P”) has a reasonable excuse include those where -

(a) P cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering— (i) because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010), or  (ii) without severe distress;

(b) P is travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person (“B”) and B relies on lip reading to communicate with P;

(c) P removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others;

(d) P is travelling to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and does not have a face covering with them;

(e) if it is reasonably necessary for P to eat or drink, P removes their face covering to eat or drink;

(f) P has to remove their face covering to take medication;

(g) a relevant person requests that P remove their face covering.

The list of reasonable excuses is non-exhuastive.

Regulation 5 deals with enforcement and 5(1) states - "Where a relevant person considers that another person is, at the time of boarding, not wearing a face covering, in contravention of the requirement in regulation 3, the relevant person may deny boarding of the relevant vehicle to that person."

Regulation 6 (Offences and penalties):

(1) A person who contravenes the requirement in regulation 3 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 5(2) commits an offence.

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

(5) Section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984(a) applies in relation to an offence under this regulation as if the reasons in subsection (5) of that section included— (a) to maintain public health; (b) to maintain public order.

Regulation 7 sets out a Fixed Penalty Notice system.

Regulation 8 deals with prosecutions.

Regulation 9 requires the Secretary of State to review the Regulations before the end of a 6 month period

Regulation 10 provides that the Regulations expire after 12 months.

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