The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force at 00.01 am on 4 July 2020. They replace the previous Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) legislation.
The No.2 Regulations are made using the powers in the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. (The same powers were used to make the previous "lockdown" regulations). The Secretary of State considers that the restrictions and requirements imposed by the new Regulations are proportionate to what they seek to achieve, which is a public health response to the coronavirus threat. In accordance with section 45R of the 1984 Act the Secretary of State is of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary to make the new regulations without a draft having been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
Leicester is in a somewhat different legal position because specific Regulations have been made for a "protected area" defined mainly by postcodes in the Leicester area (see below).
Regulation 1 - Citation, commencement, application and interpretation:
Regulation 2 - Revocation and Saving - the earlier Regulations are revoked except Regulation 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (the “first Restrictions Regulations”).
Regulation 3 - The emergency period and review of need for restrictions
The "emergency period" remains in place and will end in relation to a restriction or requirement imposed by the Regulations on the day and at the time specified in a direction published by the Secretary of State terminating the requirement or restriction.
The Secretary of State must review the need for restrictions and requirements imposed by these Regulations at least once every 28 days, with the first review being carried out by 31st July 2020.
Regulation 4 - Requirement to close premises and businesses during the emergency. Note: Regulation 4 does not apply in those areas which form the “protected area” under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020.
4.—(1) A person responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service which is listed in Schedule 2 must cease to carry on that business or to provide that service during the emergency period. There are 17 types of businesses / services listed in Schedule 2. The list includes nightclubs, dance halls, casinos, nail bars and salons, indoor and outdoor swimming pools etc.
Regulation 4 provides for some exceptions - see 4(2) to 4(6).
Regulation 5 - Restrictions on Gatherings. Note: Regulation 5 does not apply in those areas which form the “protected area” under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020.
5(1) During the emergency period, unless paragraph 5(3) applies, no person may participate in a gathering which - (a) consists of more than thirty persons, and (b) takes place - (i) in a private dwelling, including a houseboat, (ii) on a vessel, other than a houseboat or a vessel used for public transport, or (iii) on land which satisfies the condition in paragraph (2).
5(2) Land satisfies this condition if it is a public outdoor place, which is not - (a) operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body as a visitor attraction, or (b) part of premises used for the operation of a business, charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body.
5(3) sets out some exceptions (a to d) where larger gatherings will be permitted.
(a) applies to certain gatherings organised by "a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body, or a political body" where the gathering organiser has carried out a risk assessment which would satisfy the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. A further condition is that the gathering organiser has taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, taking into account the risk assessment.
In determining whether all reasonable measures have been taken to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, any guidance issued by the government relevant to the gathering in question must be taken into account - see 5(5).
(b) the person concerned is an elite sportsperson, the coach of an elite sportsperson, or (in the case of an elite sportsperson who is a child), the parent of an elite sportsperson, and the gathering is necessary for training or competition,
(c) the gathering is reasonably necessary - (i) for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services, (ii) for the purposes of education or training, (iii) for the purposes of childcare provided by a person registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006, or as part of supervised activities provided for children, (iv) to provide emergency assistance, (v) to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm, or
(d) the person concerned is fulfilling a legal obligation.
5(4) During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering which - (a) consists of more than thirty persons, (b) takes place indoors, and (c) would be a gathering of a kind mentioned in section 63(1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 if it took place on land in the open air.
See also Regs 5(6) and 5(7) for further definitions.
Regulation 6 - Power to restrict access to public places
This is an entirely new power.
6.—(1) The Secretary of State may by direction restrict access to a specified public outdoor place, or to public outdoor places of a specified description, if the Secretary of State considers that - (a) giving such a direction - (i) responds to a serious and imminent threat to public health, (ii) is necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection in England of the coronavirus, and (b) the restrictions in the direction are a proportionate means of achieving that purpose.
(2) A direction made under paragraph (1) may restrict or prohibit all public access to the specified public outdoor place or to public outdoor places of a specified description, or prohibit access at specified times.
(3) contains a restriction on the Secretary of State's power.
(4) Before making a direction under paragraph (1), the Secretary of State must consult with the Chief Medical Officer or one of the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of the Department of Health and Social Care.
(5) The power to give a direction under paragraph (1) also includes power to vary or revoke the direction.
(6) specifies requirements applicable to directions including a requirement for publication on www.gov.uk
(7) The Secretary of State must review the need for the restrictions at least once every seven days, with the first review being carried out on the seventh day after the day on which the direction is made.
See also Reg 6(8) to 6(14).
6(11) states - No person may enter or remain in a restricted area in contravention of the restrictions in the direction without reasonable excuse while the direction has effect. 6(12) sets out a non-exhaustive list of what may amount to a reasonable excuse.
Regulation 7 - Enforcement requirement
Regulation 8 - Offences and penalties
Regulation 9 - Fixed penalty notices
Regulation 10 - Prosecutions - Proceedings for an offence under these Regulations may be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and any person designated by the Secretary of State.
Regulation 11 - Expiry - The Regulations expire at the end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which they come into force.
Schedule 1 - Underlying medical conditions
Schedule 2 - Businesses subject to closure
Government Covid-19 Guidance
The guidance material includes a section "Protect yourself and others from coronavirus".
Guidance on Social distancing addresses matters such as meeting in groups can be found - see Staying alert and safe.
A further page "Staying safe outside your home" states - "The government recommends that you keep two metres away from people as a precaution or one metre when you can mitigate the risk by taking other precautions in this list."
A further section in the Guidance is "Businesses and self-employed people" and this includes "Reopen your business safely during coronavirus" which states - "Employers that want to reopen their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. Use this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce."
Please look through the guidance to find out what is applicable to your situation.
: Leicester :
See The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Regulations)(Leicester) Regulations 2020
The regime applicable to Leicester is, broadly-speaking, similar to the regime which applied across England under the earlier regulations. The "protected area" is defined by postcodes and addresses specified in Schedules 1 and 2.