Saturday, 6 March 2021

Coronavirus Restrictions England ~ Changes from 8 March 2021

On 22 February the Prime Minister announced a "roadmap" to easing restrictions imposed due to coronavirus - see Statement to House of Commons and Government Roadmap.  11 days later, on 5 March 2021, the government made amendments to the statutory instruments imposing the restrictions. The amendments take effect from 8 March 2021.

The latest amendments are in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and Restrictions: All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 - (SI: 2021/247). 

It is explained that

the amendments amend the law relating to outdoor recreation. Gatherings related to electoral activities will be possible and, when travelling outside the UK, a requirements is introduced to declare the reason for leaving or being outside the place where a person is living. There are other minor amendments.

The Regulations amended are:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020


The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020

Schools will resume on 8 March 2021. A testing system has been introduced - UK Government 22 February.

The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 section 45R continues to be used by Ministers to justify making Regulations. Section 45R requires the Secretary of State to be of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary to make regulations without a draft having been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament. 

UK Government - Coronavirus notes that - 

  • You must complete a travel declaration form if you are travelling abroad from England. You must state the reason for your travel on the form.
  • Step 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown begins.
  • Outdoor recreation or exercise with your household or 1 other person is allowed.

Covid Passports?

In a separate development, it is reported that the European Union is considering the introduction of "Covid Passports" or a "Digital Health Pass" - see TIME Europe is considering COVID-19 passports. Should the rest of the world catch up?

This development has a certain inevitability about it despite it raising considerable practical problems as well as serious ethical and legal issues (e.g. , human rights, discrimination, data protections etc).

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