Thursday, 24 September 2020

COVID-19: NEW RESTRICTIONS:ENGLAND

The latest coronavirus regulations for England - the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No2)(England) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2020/1029- were published at about one minute before midnight yesterday and alomst all of them came into force at 5.00am today 24 September 2020. That's what I call fast-track law. The remaining bits and pieces come into force on 28 Seeptember 2020. Here's an edited extract from the government's explanation of the changes for you to get your teeth into. But remove your face covering first! "This instrument makes a number of changes to the Original Regulations. In particular: Regulation 4A has been inserted into the Original Regulations to provide for: • The closure of businesses selling food or drink from 22:00 – 05:00 o Cinemas, theatres or concert hall can stay open beyond 22:00 to conclude a performance that has begun before 22:00, but would then be obliged to shut once the performance has concluded. o Businesses which are required to close will be able provide services via drive through or delivery. o Exceptions are provided for certain types of business, such as motorway service areas and supermarkets, convenience stores and cornershops. Regulation 4B has been inserted into the Original Regulations to require certain businesses to: • Take reasonable steps to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated. • If the business serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, to only take orders for food and drink from customers who are seated and only serve them while they are seated. The business must also take reasonable steps to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated. Amendments are also made to each of the following regulations to remove their restrictions on businesses, and allow the provisions in Regulations 4, 4A and 4B of the Original regulations to take effect in their protected areas: • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North of England) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North East and North West of England) Regulations 2020. Regulation 5 of the Original Regulations is amended in relation to the exemptions on gatherings restrictions: • The exemptions to the gatherings limit have been amended (Regulation 5(3)) to: o Restricting attendance at weddings and wedding receptions to 15 (down from 30) o Removal of exemption for religious or belief based standalone life cycle ceremonies (except for funerals, which will have a limit of 30 people able to attend) o Removal of the exemption for indoor organised sport (although indoor sport which is organised for the purpose of allowing persons who have a disability to take part will continue to be exempt, subject to conditions) o Place numerical restrictions of a maximum of 15 participants in a support groups, and restrict them from taking place in a private dwelling. Regulation 9 is amended to provide for the doubling of the amount included in Fixed Penalty Notices for breaches of the restrictions on participation in gatherings, the restrictions on access to specific outdoor places and the requirements to close business, meaning that the initial fine level starts at £200 to a maximum of £6 400. Amendments are also made to the following regulations to provide for equivalent Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued: • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North of England) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Bolton) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull) Regulations 2020. • the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North East and North West of England) Regulations 2020. A separate series of levels for Fixed Penalty Notices are established for the new restrictions in regulations 4A and 4B on the Original Regulations. The first Fixed Penalty Notice issues in relation to the offences of breaching these restrictions is set at £1,000, and increases to £2,000 for a second notice, £4,000 for a third notice, and £10,000 for the fourth and all subsequent notices. Consequential amendments are also made to all of the Regulations mentioned in 6.13 to ensure that the issue of an Fixed Penalty Notice in relation to regulations 4A and 4B of the Original Regulations does not affect the escalation of Fixed Penalty Notices in those Regulations, in the same way that it does not affect the escalation of Fixed Penalty Notices in relation to other offences in the Original Regulations. This instrument also amends the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Bolton) Regulations 2020 to provide that businesses in the protected area which are prevented from selling food or drink for consumption off the premises between the hours of 22.00 and 05.00 may still be allowed to make deliveries and allow customers to collect food or drink via a drive through if they remain in their vehicle."