Changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, in force from 11 am on 22 April 2020

Introduction

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 make changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the 2020 Regulations’) from 11 am on 22 April 2020. What are the changes made?

For a Summary of the 2020 Regulations as made, see my blog post Summary of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020). For detailed coverage, see Movement and Gathering Restrictions under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020)  and the Closure of Premises and Businesses under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020).

The Changes

 The Termination of Restrictions and Requirements

 As regards the termination of a restriction or requirement by direction of the Secretary of State, section 16 of the Interpretation Act 1978 now applies as it applies in relation to an enactment. The reference to a restriction or requirement is a reference to those imposed by the 2020 Regulations, e.g. a requirement to keep a business closed or a restriction on movement.

As a result of amendment, the 2020 Regulations now state, in essence, that the force of a restriction or requirement so terminated continues as regards matters arising out of the period when it was in force.

Making such adjustments as are necessary to apply section 16 of the Interpretation Act 1978, as regards the termination of a restriction of requirement by means of a direction published by the Secretary of State, the termination does not, unless the contrary intention appears:

  • revive anything not in force or existing at the time at which the termination takes effect
  • affect the previous operation of the restriction of requirement terminated or anything duly done or suffered under that restriction of requirement
  • affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred under that restriction of requirement
  • affect any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of any offence committed against that restriction of requirement
  • affect any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment

Further, any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced, and any such penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the termination had not occurred.

Restrictions and Closures – Burial Grounds and Gardens of Remembrance

 While it remains the case that a person responsible for a crematorium must ensure that during the emergency period the crematorium is closed to members of the public except for funerals and burials, that restriction no longer applies to the grounds surrounding a crematorium, including a burial ground or garden of remembrance.

In other words, it is now possible for members of the public to pay respects or mourn at a burial ground or garden of remembrance at any time and not just during funerals or burials.

Restrictions on Movement

 Restrictions on movement are extended by amendment so that during the emergency period not only may no person leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse but now, in addition, no person may be outside of the place they are living without reasonable excuse. On one reading this is a belt-and-braces provision but on another reading it may focus attention on for how long and/or for what purpose a person may remain outside of where they live (once they have left) before they cease to have a reasonable excuse.

Further, the reasonable excuse that included the need to obtain money from any business listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the 2020 Regulations is amended in two ways: first, it now applies not only to those who need to obtain money but also to those who need to deposit money; second, it is limited to so doing at banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, cash points, and post offices. The first amendment is welcome, the second not significant.

Moreover, as regard restrictions on movement, a new reasonable excuse is introduced: to visit a burial ground or garden of remembrance, to pay respects to a member of a person’s household, a family member, or a friend. This dovetails with the easing of restrictions on opening burial grounds and gardens of remembrance to members of the public (see above).

Enforcement

 As regards gatherings, enforcement measures are reshaped.

First, the power to direct an individual accompanying a child to take the child back, is now to do so to the place where the child is living and no longer where both of them of living. This is sensible stuff.

Second, in respect of gatherings, discrete provision is made so that the relevant enforcement powers may be discerned without having to read across to those enforcement powers applicable to movement restrictions.

As regards enforcement action at gatherings, it remains the case that a ‘relevant person’ is a constable, police community support officer, or a person designated by the Secretary of State. Further, it remains the case that a relevant person may give the person concerned any reasonable instruction they consider to be necessary.

As a result of amendments made (which appear not to go to substance), the enforcement powers as regards gatherings are as follows:

  • Where a relevant person considers that three or more people are gathered together contrary to the restriction on gatherings, that person may remove any person in the gathering to the place where they are living and may use reasonable force if necessary
  • Where a person who is in a gathering contrary to the restriction on gatherings is a child accompanied by an individual who has responsibility for the child, (i) the relevant person may direct that individual to take the child to the place where the child is living, and (ii) that individual must, so far as reasonably practicable, ensure that the child complies with any direction or instruction given by the relevant person to the child
  • Where a relevant person has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is repeatedly failing to comply with the restriction on gatherings, the relevant person may direct any individual who has responsibility for the child to secure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the child complies with that restriction

A relevant person may only exercise such power if they consider that it is a necessary and proportionate means of ensuring compliance with the restriction on gatherings.

Civil Penalties

 Three amendments are made.

First, as regards who may be issued with a civil penalty, instead of a person being ‘over the age of 18’, they must now be ‘aged 18 or over’.

Second, prior to amendment the local authority specified in the notice had to be the local authority (or as the case may be, any of the local authorities) in whose area the offence is alleged to have been committed (‘the relevant local authority’). Following amendment, the authority specified in the notice must be:

  • the local authority (or as the case may be, any of the local authorities) in whose area the offence is alleged to have been committed (‘the relevant local authority’), or
  • an officer designated by the Secretary of State, or by the relevant local authority, for the purposes of this regulation (‘the designated officer’).

Third, references to a ‘local authority’ now expressly include references to a ‘county council’.

Businesses Subject to Restrictions or Closure

 Three amendments are made.

First, outdoor swimming pools are added to the list of businesses and services that must cease to carry on or be provided during the emergency period.

Second, outdoor livestock markets and livestock auctions are no longer among the businesses and services that must cease during the emergency period.

Third, to the list of business permitted to continue to supply goods and services direct from their premises) is added savings clubs and 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.

 

3 comments

  1. […] For a Summary of the 2020 Regulations as made, see my blog post Summary of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020). For detailed coverage, see Movement and Gathering Restrictions under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020)  and the Closure of Premises and Businesses under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (from 1 pm on 26 March 2020). For the changes made on 22 April 2020, see my blog post Changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, in force fr…. […]

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