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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Thursday 23 April 2020

COVID-19: Going Out: Changes to Law: England

There have been changes to the law in England on restrictions during the pandemic as from 11am yesterday (see The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/447) if you get a kick out of statutory instruments).

Generally, you need to have a reasonable excuse for going out. Specific instances of what will amount to a reasonable excuse are specified in the legislation. You could rely on some reason that is not specified so long as it is reasonable. And that means that any reasonable person would reckon it to be reasonable, if you get my drift! Now, what happens if you leave home with a reasonable excuse but then remain away from home without a reasonable excuse? You might go out to exercise and, once the exercise is over, remain out while you lie on a park bench eating sandwiches and drinking beer in between snores and sunbathing? Yesterday's changes make it clear that staying out without a reasonable excuse becomes unlawful even though you had that reasonable excuse when you originally left home.

Here are the other changes -

  • The specified reasonable excuses are extended to cover leaving or being out to ‘obtain money from or deposit money with’ all types of money service businesses including clubs and international money transfer business.
  • Visiting a burial ground, garden of remembrance or grounds surrounding a crematorium to pay respects to a family member or friend becomes a  specified reasonable excuse.
  • Outdoor as well as indoor swimming pools must be closed but livestock markets and auctions are exempted from closure.