A Practical Guide to The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020
Justin Gau introduces us to The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020. The regulations were introduced as a response to the serious and imminent threat to public health posed by the Coronavirus. In accordance with section 45R of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the Secretary of State was of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it was necessary to make this statutory instrument without a draft having been laid before, and approved by each House of Parliament.
The Regulations create restrictions on movement and gatherings in England (regulation1(2)) that carry criminal penalties for those who fail to comply with the requirements. In addition, the regulations give a range of powers to the police, local authorities and persons designated by the Secretary of Estate to allow them to monitor and enforce compliance.
The restrictions on movement and gatherings can be found in regulations 4 to 7. These are explored in detail by Stephanie Painter.
The restrictions carry an exception of ‘reasonable excuse’, this means that person/persons can in fact leave their homes where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. While the term ‘reasonable excuse’ is not defined, regulation 6(2) sets out a number of examples of what may constitute ‘reasonable excuse’. This is not a non-exhaustive list and should be read ejusdem generis.
The subsequent regulations give power to the police, local authorities and persons authorised by the Secretary of State to enforce the requirements of the regulations. Those who breach the restrictions, without a reasonable excuse, will commit a criminal offence which can be prosecuted by the CPS (regulation 11). However, taking such breaches to Court should only be used as a last resort with Fixed Penalty Notices being issued at first instance. This is discussed at length by Alejandra Tascon.
For a more detailed analysis of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 please see below video.