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COVID-19 | National restrictions for England

6th January 2021

On 5th January the government published The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 setting out rules for a further lockdown in England. The regulations are designed to slow or halt Covid-19 infection rates by restricting movement of people unless for specific reasons. They replace the local tiered restrictions previously in force and apply to the whole of England.

What are the main restrictions? | Rosenblatt’s Financial Crime Team

A summary of the key provisions of the regulations is provided below.

Restrictions on leaving home

People must not leave or be outside of their home except where they have a reasonable excuse. Reasonable excuses include but are not limited to:

  • Shop for basic necessities, for themselves or a vulnerable person.
  • Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if they cannot reasonably do so from home.
  • Exercise with their household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and they should not travel outside their local area.
  • Meet their support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if they are legally permitted to form one.
  • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
  • Attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
  • Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses. If a person does leave home for a permitted reason, they should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where they live. They may leave their local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

Restrictions on meeting others

People cannot leave their home to meet socially with anyone they do not live with or are not in a support bubble with. They may exercise in a public outdoor place on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and they should not travel outside their local area. They should not meet other people they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Public outdoor places include:

  • Parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • Public gardens
  • The grounds of a heritage site
  • Playgrounds

Meeting in larger groups

Circumstance in which people are allowed to meet other people outside their household include but are not limited to:

  • For work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is unreasonable to do so from home. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople.
  • In a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only).
  • Where eligible to use these services, for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children. Access to education and childcare facilities is restricted.
  • For arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians.
  • To allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care.
  • For prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them.
  • To place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services.
  • For birth partners.
  • To provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
  • To see someone who is dying.
  • To fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service.
  • For gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres.
  • To provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer.
  • For a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people.
  • For funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people.
  • To visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment.
  • For elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) – or those on an official elite sports pathway – to compete and train.
  • To facilitate a house move.

Open and closed businesses and venues

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. These include but are not limited to:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.

Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.

  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.

Certain businesses may remain open for exempt activities, such as:

  • Education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision.
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • Hosting blood donation sessions and food banks.
  • To provide medical treatment.
  • For elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios).
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls).
  • For the purposes of film and TV filming.

The businesses and venues which may remain open in line with Covid-19 guidelines are largely limited to those providing essential goods and services, such as:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences.
  • Businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services.
  • Petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses.
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses.
  • Funeral directors.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Medical and dental services.
  • Vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals.
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes).
  • Agricultural supplies shops.
  • Mobility and disability support shops.
  • Storage and distribution facilities.
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas.
  • Outdoor playgrounds.
  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise.
  • Places of worship.
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds.

Enforcement | Rosenblatt’s Crime Team

Breaches of the restrictions amount to a criminal offence. The statutory instrument setting out the restrictions contains provisions for enforcing them through fixed penalty notices which increase in amount if a person or business is a repeat offender. Offenders can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. Proceedings for an offence may also be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and any person designated by the Secretary of State.

Rosenblatt can help

Rosenblatt has a wealth of experience in criminal law and is uniquely placed to support client’s crime needs during these unprecedented times, consistently ensuring a familiarity with the ever-changing Government guidance on COVID-19.

Contact us

Should you wish to discuss the services we offer further please contact Frances Murray from the Financial Crime team at frances.murray@rosenblatt-law.co.uk or +44 (0)20 7955 0880.