News and Comments

Public health regulations

New police powers


29 September 2020
Public health regulations

New Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were introduced on 27 August, amending both of the two above regulations. In addition to the restrictive powers introduced by the Coronavirus Act, new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations have also been passed which give police wide-ranging powers to enforce social distancing and the closure of certain premises. Distinct regulations were made for England and Wales respectively. Following amendments to the different regulations, there is now a divergent situation in England and Wales. 

England

The original regulations for England can be found here.

They have since been amended four times: here, here, here, and here.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 4 July, and can be found here. They revoked the previous regulations. They were amended for mainly clarification purposes here. These regulations were amended here on the 10 July, allowing additional businesses to be opened. New amendments were introduced on 14 September which brought in the so-called 'Rule of Six' and can be found here. Further amendments came into force on 24 September, which require businesses serving food and drink to use table service and close by 10pm, as well as increading the FPN amounts. They can be found here

The following restrictions are currently in place:

  • Certain businesses, which are listed in Regulation 4, must remain closed
  • Gatherings of more than six people either in private dwellings or public land are not permitted unless they represent either one household or one linked household. There are a number of exceptions for activities including sport, attending court and significant life events. However, for many of these exceptions, people must attend as part of a group that consists of less than six people, and cannot mingle outside of that group
  • The Secretary of State is empowered to restrict access to a specificed public outdoor space if deemed necessary. A direction must be made and publicised which clearly explains this restriction. The need for the restriction to be in place must be reviewed every 7 days, and anyone who is the owner or occupier of land within the restricted area can appeal the decision to the Magistrates Court
  • Businesses that serve food and drink must close by 10pm, and only provide table service


Additional amendments were made here on 27 August, relating to the restrictions on holding or being part of a gathering of more than 30 people and introducing a maximum fine of £10,000 for contravening either regulation 5A or 5B.

There are also new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 for England only which require people to wear a face covering on public transport: here

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 were introduced on 24 July, which require people to wear a face covering in shops and at any transport hubs. They can be read here. They were amended here on 8 August, widening the number of places where a face gathering must be worn to include community centres, cinemas and public areas in hotels.They were amended again here on 21 August, changing certain exemptions.  They were amended again on 24 September here, to include public houses.

For both sets of regulations, there are a number of exceptions to the requirement, and certain reasonable excuses are also listed for when somebody does not have to wear a face covering. This includes if there is a medical reason for them not to, if it would cause severe distress or if they are accompanying someone who relies on lip-reading.

The regulations can be enforced, and if people refuse to comply with a direction to put on a face covering or to leave the area where one is required, they may be guilty of an offence and a Fixed Penalty Notice may be given.

New Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were introduced here on 27 August, amending both of the two above regulations. They increase the FPNs that can be given, if somebody has already been given a FPN for not wearing a face covering. These were amended on 24 September here, to amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 to remove staff who are working at a public-facing business from being exempt from wearing a face covering.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(England)(No.3) Regulations 2020 were introduced on 17 July, and can be found here. They give local authorities powers to close down specific premises and events, as well as restricting public access to certain outdoor spaces. The Secretary of State must be notified by any local authorities using these powers. Certain individuals linked to the premises, events, and outdoor spaces may appeal decisions in magistrates' court. Local authority designated officers or police officers can enforce these regulations, and Fixed Penalty Notices can be issues if people refuse to comply with directions to enforce decisions by local authorities.  

New regulations were introduced on 28 September covering the requirement for self-isolation, and can be found here. Individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19, or been in contact with someone who has tested positive, must self-isolate for a set period. 

Regulations were also introduced requiring businesses to collect details of those on their premises, which can be found here

Failure to comply with either of these regulations can lead to a FPN of £1,000 (£500 if paid within 14 days) for the first incident, £2,000 for a second notice, £4,000 for a third notice and £10,000 for a third notice

Specific regulations have been laid before parliament, to re-introduce lockdowm measures in certain areas, including:

  • Leicester, which came into force on 4 July and can be read here. There were amended three times, then new regulations were introduced on 3 August, revoking all previous versions. They can be read here. They were amended on 18 August here
  • Blackburn with Darven and Bradford, which came into force on 1 August and can be read here. They were amended on 25 August here. 
  • North of England, which came into force on 5 August and covered Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire. They can be read here. They were amended on 25 August here.
  • North East of England, which came into force on 18 September and covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland. They can be read here.

     

Wales

The relevant original regulations for Wales can be found here

They have been amended six times: here, here, here, here, here and here.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on 13 July, and can be found here. They revoked the previous regulations. They have been amended four times, herehere, here,and here

The new regulations listed businesses that have to remain closed, as well as introducing standards for premises to reduce the transmission of the oronavirus, including taking measures to keep people 2 metres apart, and the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport. 

Face coverings are also now mandatory in indoor public spaces (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions).

Licensed premises are prohibited from selling alcohol after 10pm.

One household may now link with one other household to create an extended household.

There are restrictions for people in relation to not gathering indoors with people outside your extended household, without a reasonable excuse. There are at least sixteen reasons listed, including

  1. To obtain or provide medical assistance or other care
  2. To provide care or assistance to vulnerable people
  3. For work or provision of voluntary services 
  4. To donate blood
  5. To attend a funeral in certain circumstances
  6. To fulfil a legal obligation such as attending court
  7. To carry out various activities associated with moving house
  8. To avoid injury or escape a risk of harm


There are also limitations on outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people, without a reasonable excuse, which can include:

  • work or provide voluntary or charitable services;
  • where the person is an elite athlete, train or compete;
  • meeting a legal obligation;
  • accessing or receiving public services;
  • accessing childcare or participating in supervised activities for children


There are also specific regulations imposing additional restrictions in the following areas:

Enforcement

In both jurisdictions, existing arrangements for shared parenting can continue, including transporting children between households. 

The police [as well as anyone designated by the local authority or Secretary of State in England] are empowered to enforce the regulations by making certain directions, and they may use reasonable force to remove someone from a gathering, if necessary. If children or young people under the age of 18 are not complying with requirements or police direction, those with parental responsibility are expected to make sure they comply.

The regulations also state that any failure to comply with requirements relating to closing businesses, travel restrictions, public gatherings or to follow police directions is a possible criminal offence. Police are able to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to anyone over the age of 18 years who they believe has committed an offence under these regulations.

In England, the first FPN is for £200 (£50 if paid within 14 days), but a second FPN issued to the same person should be £400 and any further notices can be for double the amount of the previous one, up to a maximum of £6400 for a sixth or any subsequent FPNs.

In Wales, the first FPN is for £60 (£30 if paid within 14 days), but any further FPNs issued to the same person should be £120.

The Justices Clerks Society have provided detailed information on all coronavirus related offences: it was updated in August 2020  and can be accessed here.

Previous Article The TRUNK September 2020
Next Article Research report into training needs relating to domestic abuse
Print

Please login or register to post comments.